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Message from the CEO

ASADA Chief Executive Officer - Aurora Andruska psm
ASADA Chief Executive Officer
Aurora Andruska psm

It is with pleasure that I present the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's annual report, which comprehensively outlines our achievements in 2011–12.

The year has seen major advances in the programs ASADA delivers to deter and detect doping in sport. As a driving force for pure performance in sport both nationally and internationally, we have expanded our efforts to make sure all Australian athletes and sporting bodies are fully aware of their anti-doping responsibilities, we have built up a detection program which puts ASADA at the forefront of intelligence-based targeted testing, and have developed our leading-edge capability in intelligence and investigations.

Confronting the challenge of doping in sport, ASADA has been vigorous in its efforts to protect Australia's sporting integrity and the health of Australian athletes.

London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics

Major international sporting events inevitably bring the issue of substance use in sport to the fore. The lead-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has therefore been a primary focus for ASADA in the reporting year, with the protection of the integrity of the Australian teams at the Games a priority.

ASADA partnered with the Australian Olympic Committee, the Australian Paralympic Committee and relevant national sporting organisations to offer a comprehensive anti-doping education program and to conduct testing for athletes in the Australian teams and shadow teams. As part of a global effort to eliminate doping at the Games, ASADA implemented its world-leading Pure Performance anti-doping program, which integrates education and awareness-raising, investigations and intelligence, testing and enforcement.

ASADA conducted more than 2,600 blood and urine tests in a program of in-competition and out-of-competition testing prior to the commencement of the Games. Selected samples have been stored in ASADA's long-term storage facility located in Sydney, which allows for re-testing in the future as analytical technology improves over time. This is in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code which allows for a doping violation to be commenced against an athlete up to eight years after the alleged event.

With the accreditation of seven ASADA Doping Control Officers (DCOs) to work at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the largest number of DCOs at the Games outside of Europe, Australia played a significant role in ensuring public confidence in the Games.

Deterrence, detection and enforcement

ASADA shares the quest to achieve pure performance in sport across Australia with national sporting bodies. The broad scope of agreements between ASADA and major professional sporting organisations and governments are testament to this shared goal. In 2011–12, ASADA has in place a number of new and ongoing partnerships with national and state sporting bodies with the aim of increasing understanding of the obligations of athletes and sporting bodies under the World Anti-Doping Code, and assisting sporting bodies meet these obligations.

In November and December 2011, I met with the senior officials of national sporting bodies at a series of forums held in Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to discuss anti-doping matters and keep them abreast of international developments. During the year ASADA provided a total of 18 tailor-made anti-doping education strategies for individual sports organisations, augmenting the suite of education offerings that are generally available.

Deterrence through education and awareness-raising is a high priority. We are focussed on preventing the use of prohibited substances and methods in sport and protecting clean athletes and the reputation of the sports in which they participate through comprehensive education, communication and awareness initiatives.

In 2011–12, we have greatly expanded our educational offerings and extended their reach through new partnerships and via new media. There were 11,395 participants who completed ASADA education activities, including ASADA e-Learning, an interactive web-based program covering core anti-doping messages; Learning Bites, short online presentations on anti-doping rights, responsibilities and current issues; and face-to-face sessions. The popularity of the online tool Check Your Substances which enables athletes to find out whether specific medications and substances are permitted or prohibited in their sport continued to grow, with close to 50,000 visits to the site.

Research has shown us that our stakeholders have a strong preference for accessing information on anti-doping and prohibited substances online and we have adapted our delivery strategies accordingly. This has seen significant growth over the year in our digital communications, which include the ASADA website, a blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Our website is the main gateway for accessing anti-doping information and communications. We also utilise a new blog which houses short, sharp pieces that are timely and relevant to various audiences. We have found Twitter to be a useful way of engaging more readily with athletes and journalists who have a high online presence. Facebook makes education content and anti-doping information more readily available to a younger audience. The ASADA YouTube channel allows sporting organisations and groups to embed anti-doping information on their sites, while ASADA retains control of the video and content to make sure that the messages are always up-to-date and sound.

Through these various channels, ASADA makes a comprehensive set of anti-doping information and communications widely available to the sporting community on a 24/7 basis. Together with a range of printed resources, these digital communications help disseminate anti-doping knowledge to the wider sporting community.

Occasionally a specific anti-doping issue arises that requires an intensive awareness-raising campaign. This was the case in March 2012 when, following advice from international anti-doping organisations, ASADA issued an alert to Australian athletes warning of the risk of possible contamination of meat products with the prohibited substance clenbuterol. Australian athletes competing or training in China, Mexico or countries in the European Union were advised to exercise caution in eating meat products because of the possibility of contamination. An effective public information campaign is critical in such instances as, under international anti-doping rules, athletes are responsible for any prohibited substance found in their body, even if it isingested inadvertently.

ASADA's detection program, incorporating intelligence gathering, testing and investigations, is recognised as world-leading and we are increasingly called on to work with national and international partners to share our experience and knowledge. I have continued to drive a more coordinated approach to deterrence and detection. A critical partnership for ASADA in this respect is our association with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Through this on-going collaboration, in 2011–12 we analysed 3,207 referrals of performance and image-enhancing drugs.

The national testing program incorporates a scientific and intelligence-driven targeted test distribution plan and is implemented in-competition and out-of-competition, on the principle of no-advance-notice. Australian athletes are subject to testing anytime, anywhere and without warning. During 2011–12 we conducted 3,996 government-funded tests across 45 sports and 3,200 user-pays tests for Australian sporting bodies and other organisations.

A major development in the coordination of deterrence and detection is the introduction of Australia's first Athlete Biological Passport, scheduled for July 2012. In 2011–12, ASADA implemented new testing processes, built its scientific capacity and conducted an extensive communication campaign in preparation for the introduction of the Passport.

In carrying out our enforcement function and the management of potential anti-doping rule violations, ASADA works with the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel (ADRVP), a separate statutory body set up under the ASADA Act to make findings on possible anti-doping rule violations, maintain a Register of Findings and make recommendations on appropriate sanctions. In 2011–12, the ADRVP entered 33 athletes on to the Register of Findings. ASADA has maintained a consistent record of fair and effective management of potential rule violations.

International engagement

Anti-doping is very much a global issue and in 2011–12 ASADA strengthened its engagement with the international anti-doping community on a number of fronts, building up recognition of ASADA as one of the world's leading anti-doping organisations. We have played a role in the review of the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code), the core framework document for harmonised anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations within sports organisations and among public authorities. The review of the Code instituted in November 2011 is expected to be completed by late 2013.

Through international collaboration and exchange, we keep in touch with latest developments, learn from the experiences of other countries and contribute to the development of anti-doping programs and strategies world-wide. In 2011–12, we hosted visits to Australia by international anti-doping professionals, participated in international staff exchanges, facilitated regional workshops, delivered intelligence and investigations workshops, and been an influential player in international forums. ASADA was instrumental in forming the new Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO). I am on the Board of the new body which was formally launched in Lausanne, Switzerland in March 2012. iNADO will act principally as an advocacy organisation and, as a collective voice for anti-doping organisations, is expected to be a key player in the international fight against doping in sport.

A significant development in ASADA's engagement with international partners in the reporting year was the signing of an information-sharing agreement with UK Anti-Doping in August 2011. This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) brings together the intelligence and investigation strengths of two of the world's leading anti-doping organisations. Given the long-standing sporting ties between Australia and the United Kingdom and the frequent movement of athletes between the two countries for training or competition, this agreement is an important tool in the fight against doping in both countries.

Governance and administration

I have welcomed the opportunity in 2011–12 to work with the ASADA Advisory Group since its appointment in May 2011. The Group is an invaluable sounding board for guidance and advice on anti-doping matters and engagement with the sporting community and offers considerable expertise in the areas of law, sport, health, law enforcement and education.

I am consistently proud of the professionalism and commitment of all ASADA staff and greatly appreciate their contribution to our achievements in the reporting year. I take pride in the high levels of staff engagement and satisfaction demonstrated in surveys during the year and look forward to continuing to build ASADA as an innovative, ethical and high performing organisation.

ASADA is pleased to have achieved re-certification to ISO 9001 for its testing program in March 2012 following a comprehensive assessment process. This re-certification is evidence of the continuing high standard of the planning and provision of our doping control program and related activities.

In delivering on our commitments for 2011–12, we had a reportable surplus for the year of $0.09m, the result of robust financial management.

The year ahead

In the year ahead, we will continue to challenge the anti-doping paradigm worldwide to ensure that we maintain ASADA's position among the world's leading NADOs by identifying innovative opportunities to increase the effectiveness of our program domestically and internationally.

I will be seeking to strengthen legislation in relation to investigations and information sharing. We will also seek to develop more strategic information-sharing agreements within Australia and overseas, and take a leadership role in encouraging collaboration and sharing among our global partners.

Further work on financial management including the implementation of revised Chief Executive Instructions and financial rules, revised delegations and improving internal reporting arrangements is planned for the coming year and I am committed to building a high-performance culture that aligns with the APS performance management framework.

This will stand us in good stead to pursue our commitment to delivering the five goals set out in the ASADA Strategic Plan for 2011–14:

  • leadership in anti-doping program delivery
  • engaged, motivated, ethical and skilled people
  • productive stakeholder relationships
  • international engagement and influence
  • robust corporate governance and financial sustainability.

I keenly await the challenges and opportunities that 2012–13 will bring and look forward to working with all our stakeholders to achieve the very best outcomes for Australia's sporting community.

As a final word, since I began the final review of this annual report, I received the terribly sad news that Brian Sando had lost his fight with pancreatic cancer.

Brian held a number of Board positions with the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASADA's predecessor), and was appointed Chair of that organisation in June 2000. He continued in the role until March 2006 when ASDA became ASADA and a new governance structure was put in place. Brian continued to support ASADA as Deputy Chair of the ASADA Members group, and as Chair of the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Committee.

Brian's tireless work in anti-doping was far reaching. He was an internationally recognised sports doctor, having been Chair of the Australian Olympic Committee Medical Commission and a member of the Commonwealth Games Medical Commission. He worked as Medical Officer to seven Australian Olympic teams. He was also a member of WADA's Health Medical and Research Committee. Brian's compassion for others was evident right to the end.

His wise counsel, gentle nature and wonderful spirit will be sorely missed by all in the sporting community.

Aurora Andruska PSM
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority

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