Anti-doping law reform strengthens integrity of Australian sport

  • Ministerial Statement

Landmark reforms to Australian sport’s anti-doping rules will keep the nation at the forefront of efforts to keep competition clean.

Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck, welcomed the passage of legislation through Parliament today.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Enhancing Australia’s Anti-Doping Capability) Bill 2019 strengthens the Government’s ability to combat the increasingly complex and sophisticated doping environment.

“This is a big step forward in discouraging the murky underworld that exists behind sports doping,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Doping is good for no one but cheats and criminals.

“It can damage the person’s health, distort the outcome of sporting competition and over time, undermines the overall value of sport to our community and our nation.”

The Bill continues the implementation of the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements chaired by Mr James Wood AO QC.

One of its major effects is to allow action to be taken against third party enablers who have supplied prohibited substances but are not directly associated with the athlete who is alleged to have committed an anti-doping rule violation.

These people fall outside the remit of current anti-doping arrangements, which focus on the athlete and designated support people.

Minister Colbeck said the new legislation will come into effect within a matter of weeks.

“It will have an immediate impact, offering fairness for athletes, while ensuring Australia’s response to doping serves as a deterrent,” he said.  

The Bill also introduces a range of measures to streamline and speed up the anti-doping rule violation process, so that athlete and support persons do not face lengthy delays before a decision is made.

Instead of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), all matters that proceed to a hearing will now be heard by the new National Sports Tribunal.

“Australian Governments make significant investments in sport, on the assumption that contests are fair,” Minister Colbeck said.

“We will fight to uphold the integrity of sport, while ensuring every accused person receives an unbiased hearing and as little disruption to their lives as possible.

“I would like to acknowledge the constructive engagement we have had with a range of stakeholders and the Opposition in the passage of this legislation.”

The Wood Review was commissioned in 2017 as part of the development of the Australian Government’s National Sport Plan. Its report was released in August 2018.

The passage of this Bill is also the third key piece of legislation passed by the Parliament to support the Wood Review’s recommendations, following legislation to create the new National Sports Tribunal and the creation of the new Sport Integrity Australia.

Sport Integrity Australia commences on July 1 and will bring together the current functions of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), the National Integrity of Sport Unit (NISU) in the Department of Health, and the nationally focused integrity functions of Sport Australia.

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