Sport Integrity Australia's Safety in Sport Division is to undergo a significant expansion and lead the national response to safeguarding issues ©Getty Images

Sport Integrity Australia's (SIA) is to undergo a significant expansion with the support of Anthony Albanese's new Labor Government as it looks forward to the Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Paralympics.

It has been announced that SIA will take up a national coordination role for sport integrity-related matters, focusing on abuses of power such as discrimination and vilification, under the umbrella of a new Safety in Sport Division.

The engagement of a deputy chief executive of safety and culture strategy, who would inform SIA's approach to dealing with a range of issues including discrimination based on race, culture, sexual and gender identity as well as abuse across all levels of Australian sport, will be among initiatives included under the Safety in Sport Division.

A hotline for people to make complaints regarding abuses is to be expanded and include an anonymous reporting capability, plus there is to be a broadening of the education platform for issues of cultural sensitivity.

Anika Wells, Australia’s Minister for Sport, commented: "Shockingly, since SIA opened its doors, it has received more than 1,300 matters regarding sports integrity which shows the dire need for increased resourcing.

"The expanded hotline will provide people in sport an anonymous way to report abuse and will complement the existing complaints process managed through the National Integrity Framework.

"The hotline will provide a place for anyone in sport, past or present, to feel heard and seek support.

"In my short time as Federal Minister for Sport, I have set out to make a contribution that progresses integrity and equality within our wide world of sport.

"I am yet to find anyone who can assure me our sporting institutions are safe.

"This is the first step of many to help people in sport feel safe and have faithful means of reporting abuses.

"We expect this to feature in our 2032 Olympics and Paralympics Legacy policy, currently being developed.

"Our review of Government sporting agencies will make sure we are properly aligned for the next ten years of the green and gold runway."

A generation of Australian children will benefit from increased safety in sport measures following the expansion of Sport Integrity Australia's role ©Getty Images
A generation of Australian children will benefit from increased safety in sport measures following the expansion of Sport Integrity Australia's role ©Getty Images

The National Integrity Framework was developed by SIA in large part in response to the Athlete A documentary which examined abuse in gymnastics in the United States.

More than 50 national governing bodies have so far signed up to the National Integrity Framework.

SIA chief executive David Sharpe added: "Sport Integrity Australia is working to change the culture of sport from the community level up by embedding acceptable behaviours and anti-discrimination attitudes at all levels of sport.

"It is critical we start the conversation and education at the grassroots level because today's five-year-old could be our 2032 Olympian.

"What action or response taken will be driven by the person coming forward to share their experience or story.

"This does not have to be public, they may just want someone to listen.

"Information gathered will allow the agency to further identify emerging trends and inform our education initiatives and strategies.

"The Safety in Sport Division will complement the existing integrity functions currently in place in professional sporting codes in Australia."

The Albanese Labor Government is also conducting a rapid review of Government sporting responsibilities at federal level to ensure there are no gaps and deliver greater clarity at the Commonwealth level, it is insisted.

It has also been clarified that the expansion of SIA's operations does not include a takeover of existing integrity units in professional sport in Australia - but close cooperation is promoised.