Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Paralympic medal winners will receive the same financial reward as the Olympians.
“I’m very pleased to announce that the government will provide additional support to Paralympics Australia to ensure our Paralympic medallists will receive equivalent payments to our Olympic medallists,” Morrison said during question time in Parliament on Thursday.
The abrupt about-face follows a push led by GWS footballer and Olympic gold medallist Chloe Dalton, who was dismayed at the disparity between medal-winning Olympians and Paralympians.
Olympians get $20,000 from the Australian Olympics Committee for winning gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze. In previous Olympics, sponsors have sometimes kicked in even more bonuses, including cars.
But Paralympians who win medals get no such bonuses.
Dalton had started a crowdfunding page to raise money to reward Australia’s Paralympics medallists. So far, with three days of competition to come, Australians have won 60 medals – including 13 gold – at the Tokyo Paralympics.
“We are so, so proud of our team. They have shown discipline, focus,
determination, dogged persistence, a great sense of humour, a great sense of the Australian spirit on display,” Mr Morrison said.
In a later statement, Mr Morrison and Sports Minister Richard Colbeck acknowledged the “major sacrifices” of Paralympians and Olympians.
“The Morrison government is committed to working with Paralympics Australia and other national sporting bodies to grow corporate sponsorship for para-sports,” they said.
“This additional commercial revenue could ensure Paralympics Australia can sustainably make medal bonus payments to athletes at future Paralympics.”