I’d like to directly address with you the leak of WAFC salaries earlier this week. At the best of times this is a highly sensitive topic and I fully understand in the current environment sensitivities are at an all-time high. From my perspective this is a deeply regrettable situation and I apologise for the angst it has no doubt caused, particularly for our staff. A full independent investigation is being undertaken on this issue.
There are a couple of points I’d like to specifically address. Firstly, at a headline level, I know the total amount paid in salaries looks like a substantial number but I would ask that you remember it takes a significant number of people to deliver outcomes such as talent academies, competitions, umpiring, indigenous engagement, coaching and school programs across all levels of footy in WA.
Our game has almost 350,000 participants across competitions including the WAFL, WAFL Women, Colts, Perth Football League, Masters, country footy, juniors and Auskick. Our employees are people that love footy as much as you do and have dedicated their careers to the game, and in all cases are working long hours to support the growth and development of WA Football. The WAFC has custody of the well-being of our game in WA and takes that responsibility seriously.
Secondly, we at the WAFC are not immune to the austerity measures footy and sport across the board must endure at the moment. We outlined the drastic steps we took to immediately cut costs in response to COVID-19 on March 26, including an immediate reduction in salaries and from a longer term perspective, we are nearing completion of a full review of the WAFC. This review will restructure the Commission to fit the tough financial position our game is facing, which has been outlined to the COVID-19 WA Football Industry Steering Committee.
The work includes defining our new financial model, developing a short-term strategy to focus on the key areas to re-build our game and to restructure our organisation in line with our financial resources. Our plan is to be as lean and efficient as possible without compromising footy in WA. I had hoped to present this to you all as a finished product in the coming weeks, but given developments this week I think it’s important you’re aware this review is already well underway and nearing completion.
The WAFC had a pre-scheduled meeting this afternoon with the Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray to discuss the plans and logistics around the upcoming return to play and took the opportunity to brief him on the review that is underway. This conversation was held in an open and constructive manner.
I undertake to come back to you in the coming weeks to explain how the reshaped WAFC will look within our new financial model so that we can quickly rebuild football again right across this great State.
I wish you well in your plans for the return of football this season. I cannot wait to see footy commence again in 2020.