Government warns sports to improve governance
The federal government hopes Cricket Australia (CA) will speed up its progress toward an independent commission after issuing a general warning to sporting bodies to improve their governance.
CA’s move to an independent commission will be on the agenda at its full board meeting next week, days after the government’s call to sports administrators to “have a good hard look at themselves”.
Sports minister Kate Lundy issued updated Australian Sports Commission (ASC) guidelines on Thursday, insisting sporting organisations are transparent, accountable and responsible and follow best practice governance.
Many of the points made in the ASC’s 28-page document are pertinent to CA’s governance review which recommended last December its board be cut from 14 state-affiliated directors to nine independent members.
CA chairman Wally Edwards had said a draft of the proposed changes would be produced in February, but the overhaul is expected to take most of this year as some states hold out on wholesale change.
Edwards has been canvassing the states this week before the board meeting in Melbourne on Monday and Tuesday.
Lundy said she hoped the guidelines, which updated the 2007 document, will encourage CA to move a bit quicker.
“I think it makes it harder for sports to make a choice not to progress their governance,” she said.
“My expectations are quite high that they will make significant progress this year.”
The Carter-Crawford governance review conducted for CA stated that while the board must have one representative from each state, they cannot also hold positions with their own associations.
While some states are holding out, they might be forced to concede under the ASC guidelines which stipulate: “In relation to a director’s conflict of interest, a director should not hold any official position at state, regional or club level.”
The guidelines for all sports envisage that boards will have between five and nine independent directors from a diverse range of expertise.
Senator Lundy said sporting organisations have positively received the government’s advice on best practice.
“It’s a general call for sports to have a good hard look at themselves and see how they measure up against the recent analysis of what constitutes best practice,” she said.
She said the Australian Rugby Union told her on Thursday it was planning to reform its governance, which is an unwieldy nine-member board with an additional 14 voting state delegates.
Lundy said while good governance led to good on-field performance, she warned it was also inevitably linked to government funding.
“There’s always a conversation around the funding issue,” she said.© AAP 2013
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