In November and December 2020, the Australian Sports Foundation carried out a survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Australian athletes.
However, the results have highlighted a bigger underlying issue - namely that Australian athletes are largely underfunded, have limited financial security, and rely on their families or outside employment to survive.
The results of our survey show that most of the representative athletes who responded earn less than the national minimum wage of $39,000. While COVID-19 has worsened the financial situation of Australian athletes, our survey also lays bare a profound impact on physical and mental health, and in many cases on our athletes’ overall career aspirations.
Without financial support, the loss of some of our best and most experienced athletes would lead to the athletic equivalent of a ‘brain-drain’, creating a future lack of mentors, coaches and advocates, and those who inspire others to take up sport in Australia. This is a particular concern given the likelihood of Australia hosting the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The full report covers the impact on Australian athletes, the issues they face which may affect their future career aspirations and delves into the sources of athlete funding in Australia.