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Frequently Asked Questions

Updated August 2021

The vision of OneAthletics is to unite the sport under a new national sporting organisation – Australian Athletics – transforming athletics into the biggest participation sport in the country, with a clear and logical pathway for athletes, coaches, and officials throughout their life in the sport. Member Associations, clubs and centres will not be required to unify at the state and territory level: Australian Athletics will assist both unifying and continuing member associations to deliver athletics with full support from the national body without prejudice.

 
  • To create lifelong opportunities for participants
  • Create a collaborative model that improves communication and understanding at all levels of our sport.
  • To improve support, for volunteers, coaches, officials, and administrators
  • To respond to historically declining participation numbers
  • To insulate our sport against the impacts from threats like the Covid-19 pandemic
  • A sport divided at the national level is unable to effectively assist State and Territory Member Associations to succeed
  • To better support Member Associations safeguard members against integrity threats

Little Athletics Australia and Athletics Australia see significant benefits of uniting under one national entity to transform athletics into the biggest participation sport in the country. This unification will provide a clear and logical pathway for athletes, coaches and officials throughout their life in the sport.     

Little Athletics Australia and Athletics Australia have been working closely with State and Territory member associations and key stakeholders to inform and prepare a joint proposal of the new National Body. This engagement has been critical to refining the vision and how the new organisation will look in the furture. 

If this proposal receives the required level of member association support, a new National Body will be established.

One, united, national sporting organisation for athletics in Australia will have a multitude of benefits to athletes, clubs, coaches and officials including:

  • One connected digital ecosystem
  • A product portfolio that delivers to every life stage
  • A more influential, unified voice increasing the visibility, reach and impact of the sport
  • Investment from Sport Australia for development of new products
  • A saving to both Member Associations and Australian Athletics through a single insurance program
  • Efficiencies across the new business model re-invested to increase capacity better serving Member Associations
  • A National Charter that codifies roles and responsibilities of the NSO and the MA
  • Elimination of duplication and confusion unifying the shared interests of LAA and AA
  • Increase recruitment, retention, and education of coaches officials, and volunteers
  • Increased access to investment from corporate and government
  • Establishment of a national facilities plan
  • Little Athletics as the only program delivered across the school system
  • Development of a whole of sport strategy, including Masters Athletics
  • Position athletics as an employer of choice in the Australian sports industry
  • Lead sport in the delivery of outcomes in diversity and inclusion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The success of Australian Athletics will be measured on its ability to collaborate with the member associations and provide a stable platform so that athletics can be delivered with impact at the grassroots. This can be distilled down to:

  • Participation growth of athletics across Little Athletics and senior athletics
  • Australian Athletics, member associations and key stakeholders working together to achieve shared goals
  • Sustainable financial management of the national body with investment into the community
  • Increased government and philanthropic investment in the sport
  • Growth of volunteers in Little Athletics and coaches and officials across the sport.
  • A workforce with a culture of serving the sport and responding to the needs of the MA

There is no need to change the way your club or centre delivers athletics. We see this as a strength of the sport. By developing a clearer transition pathway, we believe there will be greater opportunities where the demand is strong for both clubs and centres to build on their existing offerings.

The philosophy of Little Athletics will be embedded within Australian Athletics: In the same way, this philosophy is currently embedded in Little Athletics Australia through its articulation of constitutional objectives and the aligned policies and standards Australian Athletics will, on commencement, have these as core guiding principles of the new entity.

The Little Athletics model remains the lead junior athletics program in Australia: With more than 75,000 children participating in the Little Athletics model is central to the success of athletics. Australian Athletics will apply dedicated resources to impact on growth nationally of Little Athletics and supporting MA to deliver this growth, including by making Little Athletics the product delivered in schools.

A Nominations Committee was established to determine the initial appointment of Directors to the Australian Athletics Board. The committee included an independent Chair and one nominee from each of LAA and AA who are either ineligible to stand for appointment to Australian Athletics or have declared their intent not to stand and one representative from each of LAA and AA MA. 

The new Board once established will establish a Nominations Committee as a matter of business for that Board.

The appointment of Directors to the Australian Athletics Board are as follows:

Three current elected Directors from Athletics Australia

  • Jan Swinhoe, Jeff Cook and Jane Flemming

Three current elected Directors from Little Athletics Australia

  • Colin Segota, Teresa Finlayson and Tracey May

Two (2) current appointed Directors from Athletics Australia

  • Jill Davies and Brian Miller

Two (2) current appointed Directors from Little Athletics Australia

  • Darren Black and Jayne Ferguson

This ensures that the Board composition complies with Sport Australia Governance Principles noting that there will be ten Directors not nine, which is the standard. Sport Australia has approved this variance as part of the transition period. There is equal representation from LAA and AA, and 40% of the Australian Athletics Board consists of Appointed Directors, again in compliance with the standard. The gender balance requirements are met, with 60% female and 40% male, and the continuity of existing LAA and AA Board members delivers stability and an experience from the Board’s inception.

The Transition Board will be responsible for the implementation plan and appointing a CEO and other resources. The new Board once established will establish a Nominations Committee as a matter of business for that Board. The Nominations Committee under Australian Athletics will be charged with the role of assessing all Directors nominated to the Board considering the appropriate mix of skills and diversity as determined by the Sport Australia Governance Principles and recommending candidates within the parameters of the constitution and the Board Nomination Panel Terms of Reference.

Existing staff will be retained as part of Australian Athletics. Where efficiencies are identified through consolidation, additional staff capacity will be used to deliver new or improved service. There is no intention to reduce current staffing from both organisations. In other organisations where a change of this type has been achieved there has been increased opportunities for staff.

Under the proposal, all state and territory member associations affiliated with Little Athletics Australia and Athletics Australia would become members of Australian Athletics. To date member associations have been consulted to gather insight and input into the proposal for the new national organisation.

This has been an opportunity to work together to create a shared vision and structure for athletics in Australia.    

Impacts of unification for State and Territory member associations:

Year 1

  • Savings from single insurance program
  • National Commercial Agreement in place
  • National registration campaign roll out
  • Education platform for Coaching and Officiating
  • Launch of LA Schools Program
  • One Age Groups and Standards policy

Year 2                   

  • Access to full National Events Program linked to State and Regional Programs
  • Initial digital platform driving local data
  • Receive investment from brand deals through the NCA
  • Drive the National Facilities Program in the community
  • Drive Club Development platform with members

Year 4

  • Established suite of Competition Events
  • LA and Teen Athletics in Schools delivered by MA and Community
  • Continued digital transformation at the State/Territory level
  • NCA investment for MA towards 2032
  • Roll out of investments in community from the National Facilities Program

Member Associations will not be required to unify at the state and territory level: Australian Athletics will assist both unifying and continuing MAs to deliver athletics with full support from the national body without prejudice. 

Clubs and Centres will not be required to unify at the state and territory level: Australian Athletics will assist both unifying and continuing MAs to deliver athletics with full support from the national body without prejudice. 

Discussions have taken place with master’s in relation to coming in as an associated member. We see this as the next part of the journey. Hopefully post a successful merger vote, we can continue to explore bringing in master’s as an associated member of the new organisation.

Recreational running is a part of the athletics family, and in recent years, Parkrun has been brought in as an associate member of Athletics Australia. We have supported and encouraged our clubs to work with Parkrun and will continue to do so, as there is opportunity here for participants who are just looking to run casually rather than in a structured club format.

Yes, the members of Australian Athletics would be the current state-based Member Associations of AA and LAA

Below outlines activities which will impact the athletics system at the club and centre level.  

Year 1

  • No change to delivery of athletics in your community
  • Opt-in to new product pilots
  • See greater exposure of athletics
  • One Insurance program
  • Access to the connected Coach and Officials Education Program
Year 2 
  • No change to delivery of athletics in your community
  • Access to new product options where needed
  • One registration platform for all participants
  • Access to the National Facilities Program

Year 4

  • No change to delivery of athletics in your community
  • One Coach/Official/Volunteer education platform
  • One product suite accessible for Little Athletics Teens-Seniors
  • One pathway for talented athletes starting in LA
We have been inspired by work done and a groundswell at the state and territory level. We have acute awareness this time that we have little choice as a sport. To stay relevant, to compete with other sports, we must join to continue to grow. We are also cognisant of lessons of the past – that a merger cannot be forced or threatened, and that our athletics family must be brought on the journey. This is a merger of equals, joining as partners. This is not a takeover in any way.

Students in the primary school system gain exposure to athletics via two programs; LAPS as a Little Athletics Member Association delivered program, and Kids’ Athletics delivered by Athletics Australia consistent with its obligations to World Athletics. When combined, these programs reach more than 230,000 students per year. Both aim to build physical literacy in children in the school setting and are delivered by teachers or approved coaches. Each has a secondary aim of marketing athletics participation as a fun pastime and creating connections between schools and their local Little Athletics centres.

With the introduction of one program – delivering Little Athletics the sport will be better positioned to transfer the experience children have in the school setting towards a Little Athletics delivery centre.

The coach/deliverer is the most important factor for ongoing participation. Participant-centred coaching and officiating is a key tenet of successful educational. 

The Australian Athletics Strategy 2022-2025 clearly outlines the focus of the organisation and will align the Board, management, and member associations around the most critical things to do in the first twelve to eighteen months of the life of the new entity. 

Once established, Australian Athletics will prioritise the delivery of enhanced digital platforms to develop and support coaches and officials at every level.

One, united, national sporting organisation for athletics in Australia will have a multitude of benefits in the pathway for athletes, clubs, coaches and officials including:

  • One connected digital ecosystem
  • A product portfolio that delivers to every life stage
  • A more influential, unified voice increasing the visibility, reach and impact of the sport
  • Investment from Sport Australia for development of new products
  • Efficiencies across the new business model re-invested to increase capacity better serving Member Associations
  • A National Charter that codifies roles and responsibilities of the NSO and the MA
  • Elimination of duplication and confusion unifying the shared interests of LAA and AA
We understand that change can be a difficult process. Whilst the proposal of joining at the national level is an idea that is largely supported, we also understand there is emphasis on the detail of what that will practically look like, and what a national merger will mean at the grassroots and for the broader athletics community. We will continue to work closely with the state member associations and the athletics community to refine the proposal for Australian Athletics. We ultimately believe the coming together of our national bodies is the best move for our sport, to ensure a fruitful, sustainable sport for the future for the entire athletics community.

We believe that for the future sustainability of our sport, that unifying is the right thing to do. However, we are realistic, we know change can be difficult, and that the vote for the Australian Athletics entity is ultimately up to the state members.

Given that, if the merger vote is unsuccessful in December 2021, the OneAthletics program of work will continue. We will keep going, continuing to refine what Australian Athletics could look like and incorporating feedback towards a stronger proposal, until a successful outcome can be reached.

The coach/deliverer is the most important factor for ongoing participation. Participant-centred coaching and officiating is a key tenet of successful educational. 

The Australian Athletics Strategy 2022-2025 clearly outlines the focus of the organisation and will align the Board, management, and member associations around the most critical things to do in the first twelve to eighteen months of the life of the new entity. 

Once established, Australian Athletics will prioritise the delivery of enhanced digital platforms to develop and support coaches and officials at every level. The coaching pathway will be built to eliminate barriers and improve the experience of coaches. This includes opening opportunities for junior coaches / ITC recipients to commence their accreditation journey if they so wish through the accredited pathway.