Four sports stars back Prime Minister's Sporting Oration

Four Australian sports stars have agreed to support the Prime Ministers’ Sporting Oration’s push for greater investment in grassroots sport and to elevate sports policy discussion across corporate, philanthropic and government sectors.

The inaugural PMSO dinner, which will raise tax-deductible funds for the Australian Sports Foundation to invest in grassroots sport, will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on November 21.

Julia Gillard, Australia’s 27th Prime Minister, will deliver the first ever Sporting Oration.

Joining the PMSO as Ambassadors are recently retired Australian women’s cricket captain, Alex Blackwell, five-time Paralympian Danni Di Toro, Essendon AFL captain Dyson Heppell and Matildas football dynamo, Kyah Simon.

The four athletes have been carefully chosen to represent the PMSO’s four key Cause Areas - Diversity & Inclusion; Leadership & Decision Making; Women & Girls in Sport; and Physical Activity.

PMSO Founder and Chairman, Campbell Rose AM, said the four Ambassadors are passionate about the four Cause Areas and the need for greater investment in grassroots sport.

“Quite simply, the top end of sport in Australia cannot exist without well-funded nationwide grassroots sports programs,” said Mr Rose.

“We have seen investment in grassroots sport, in real terms, continually being reduced and it is having a profound impact on the health and vitality of our communities throughout the country.

“Our four Ambassadors have each come from different grassroots sports backgrounds and they know they could not have reached the pinnacle in their sports without the funding and pathway programs which enabled them to reach their full sporting potential,” he added.

CEO of the Sports Foundation, and Deputy Chair of the PMSO Patrick Walker, said the Sports Foundation’s vision is to build a healthier, more active and more inclusive Australia through sport.

“We want every Australian, regardless of their ability, economic, cultural or social circumstance, to enjoy the benefits of active sports participation. We believe strongly that sports participation can improve physical and mental health, teach valuable life skills and bring people of different cultures and communities together,” he said.

“With the support of Alex, Danni, Dyson and Kyah, and with increased tax-deductible investment in grassroots sport via the PMSO initiative, we want to build a more inclusive and healthier society,” he added.

The four Ambassadors are:

Alex Blackwell – Australia’s most capped cricketer with over 250 international appearances, Alex is regarded as one of Australia’s all-time great Australian cricketers. Recently appointed to the Board at Cricket NSW

Danni Di Toro – Five-time Australian Paralympian. She is a 10-time Australian wheelchair tennis champion, and a multiple Paralympic Games medallist. She is Australia’s current table tennis champion and was Australian team co-captain at the 2016 Rio Paralympics

Dyson Heppell – Captain of the Essendon AFL club in 2017 and 2018, and an All Australian in 2014. He has played over 150 games for Essendon including all games in 2018. He was a key player as Essendon reached the Play Off finals in 2017

Kyah Simon – One of the key members of the Australian Matildas women’s football team. Made her Matildas debut when aged 16 and became the first Indigenous player – male or female – to score at the FIFA World Cup

Press-ReleaseAnna Poulos