Australian Sports Commission boss John Wylie. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian
Australian Sports Commission boss John Wylie. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian

Secret sports report has Federal Government running scared

THE problem with the silent approach is that it just doesn't stop people from asking questions.

Questions such as: why hasn't the Federal Government released the review it ordered into how the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Institute of Sport spend taxpayers' money?

There may well be a perfectly valid reason, but the Australian public don't know because the response from Canberra has been deafening silence.

That's not going to wash anymore because the stench isn't going away in the wake of the sports-rort scandal that led to the resignation of the former sports minister Bridget McKenzie, and now the explosive revelations that the ASC has been spending millions on consultancy firms and executive salaries.

And all this has been happening at the same time that funding cuts to high-performance sport have left Australian athletes struggling to make ends meet and battling depression while being hammered on social media for not winning more medals.

The government clearly thought the review was important enough to call in former federal sports minister Rod Kemp to run it, so why haven't they released it?

Renowned as a straight shooter and thorough investigator, Kemp spent 10 weeks compiling his report before handing over his findings and recommendations to the ASC boss John Wylie and the new sports minister Senator Richard Colbeck.

Colbeck's office did not respond to a request from The Daily Telegraph for an explanation as to why the "Kemp Review" has not been released.

And the ASC won't comment on it either, although Wylie made a brief mention of it at this week's ASC media awards presentation in Sydney.

Wylie brushed off the secret contents of the report by saying it had found the ASC was "well managed" - leaving the roomful of journalists wondering whether it was a casual slip of the tongue or he'd just flipped them the bird.

The Olympic Games are fast approaching and the public has the right to know how their money is being spent on sports funding. Picture: Getty Images
The Olympic Games are fast approaching and the public has the right to know how their money is being spent on sports funding. Picture: Getty Images

So, what's in the review and why is it being kept secret?

If there's nothing to hide, then Australian taxpayers should be able to read the contents. And if the report is damning, as most expect, isn't that all the more reason it should be released?

These are the burning questions that sports administrators all over the country are privately asking but are fearful of speaking out publicly because of the potential repercussions with sports battling each other for much needed cash in what has been labelled "The Hunger Games".

Astonishingly, the chief executive of one of Australia's most popular Olympic sports has already emailed athletes warning them not to speak with the media about sport funding - even though it's the same crisis that has left many of them earning less than minimum wage and borrowing money off parents and friends to pay their bills.

The whole thing stinks and the only sure thing is that the whole rotten issue isn't going away in a hurry.

The government might have gotten away with ignoring the pleas of high performance athletes because the public rarely shows much interest in Olympic sports outside of Games' time but the sports-rorts scandal changed everything.

With the Tokyo Olympics now just 160 days away, the public has a right to know how their money is being spent so nothing can be allowed to be swept under the carpet.

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