CANBERRA Australia — Caribbean government ministers and senior officials with responsibility for sport were welcomed to Canberra, the national capital of Australia, on 5 July. The group met with the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) minister for sport, players from the University of Canberra Brumbies Super Rugby team and visiting the Australian Institute of Sport.
The 19 officials in the delegation were visiting as recipients of an Australia Awards Fellowship, funded by Australian government agency AusAID, for a 21-day Australian study tour. They were hosted on the tour by University of Canberra sport studies staff and Chris Nunn, of Chris Nunn Consulting.
Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and St Lucia were all represented on the group.
During the trip to Canberra, the group had the chance to hear from University of Canberra Brumbies chief executive officer Andrew Fagan, meet with some Brumbies players and ACT minister for sport Andrew Barr, who shared some insights into his role.
St Kitts and Nevis senior sports officer from the department of sports, Vernon Springer, said the visit to Canberra was “great”.
“Meeting all of the key persons was key for me. Meeting the Hon. Andrew Barr was great, he was able to give an overview of being able to manage the resources made available to him, and it also gave him a chance to hear from the Caribbean colleagues just how important the Australia Awards Fellowship program is to the Caribbean,” Springer said.
The aim of the study tour, which also took them to Newcastle, Cairns and the Gold Coast, is to provide the participants with the skills, knowledge and networks they need to develop sport in their home nation – both at a community and elite level. The group met sports academics and administrators, including the successful bid organisers for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“The Australia Awards Fellowship program has taught me personal development; it has also given me an insight as to how to manage your time and also how to deal with challenges. Visiting Australia has been an eye-opener for me,” Springer said.
University of Canberra sport studies lecturer Sandy Daley said the program has led to the sharing of ideas that promote a healthier community.
“We face similar health issues associated with a growing culture of inactivity,” Daley said.
“The program provides an opportunity for the sharing of ideas and the creation of networks and partnerships between our regions. Participants will be working towards a collective strategy for sport in the Caribbean region.”
By the end of the intensive program, the group will have covered topics including policy development, strategic planning, identifying sport and government priorities and developing a funding system for sport and recreation. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the establishment of athlete pathways from grassroots to elite.