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Old parties fail to protect Australian athletes: Greens

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 23 Jul 2013

 A Greens-initiated Senate Inquiry into the practice of sports science has today reported its findings.

“I referred this issue to a senate inquiry because, as a doctor, I have real concerns for the health and well-being of Australian sportspeople and athletes,” said Greens spokesperson for health and sport, Senator Richard Di Natale, a former GP and VFA footballer.

“I was also aware that organisations such as the NRL, COMPPS, ESSA, Sports Medicine Australia and the Australian College of Sports Physicians were calling for action to reduce the risk of rogue sports practitioners harming athletes.

“The clear consensus during the inquiry, from major sporting bodies and health care professionals, was that accreditation of sports scientists is essential.

“Sporting clubs need to be confident that the people they employ and trust to care for their athletes have the appropriate skills, qualifications and experience and only professional accreditation can provide that assurance. But in a dreadful act of cowardice, both major parties have failed to support the accreditation of sports scientists in Australia.

“The old parties also refused to sign onto other sensible recommendations such as an independent hotline for athletes to get information on supplements and the publication of the supplements used by sporting clubs in the major codes.  

“The fact that some politicians were criticised for overreacting when the doping scandal first broke has caused the old parties to go ground when action is sorely needed. Of course politicians have no role in the current ASADA investigations but we do have the responsibility to put in place regulatory safeguards that can minimise the risk of this dangerous activity in the future.

“Sadly the old parties haven’t committed to any reforms that would help protect the next generation of athletes from any cowboy who decides to call himself a sports scientist and start offering athletes injections or dangerous drugs.

“The Greens never again want to see our young Australian athletes being used as guinea pigs in an uncontrolled pharmacological arms-race. That’s why we’ve got behind major sporting organisations and health professionals and supported their pleas for action.

“While the old parties are focused on minimising political risks, the Greens are standing up for what matters.”

The full report:

Media Contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600

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