Published: Jan 26, 2013 09:07:06 AM Updated: Mar 19, 2013 09:23:49 AM
Australian Paralympic Committee President Greg Hartung has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day Honours announced by Government House.
The honour recognises Mr Hartung’s outstanding contribution to Australian sport over the past 32 years, including his distinguished service to the Paralympic movement both in Australia and around the world.
Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) Chief Executive Jason Hellwig said:
“I can’t think of any Australian who has played a role as central and as diverse in the development of sport in our country as has Greg Hartung.
“He has made a vast and effective contribution to sport over many years and he continues to lead the Australian Paralympic movement with a level of understanding and expertise that very few possess.
“What Greg has achieved to this point in his career is astounding and his work continues unabated, which is why it is fitting that he has been honoured in this way.
“This is an honour Greg richly deserves.”
Mr Hartung has served as President of the Australian Paralympic Committee since 1997, overseeing its transformation from a small and struggling organisation to its modern day position as a leader in disability sport.
Four-time Paralympian Kurt Fearnley, who delivered the official 2013 Australia Day Address earlier this week, said he was indebted to Mr Hartung.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the work done by Greg during my career,” Fearnley said.
“The progress that the Paralympic movement in Australia has made since I began wheelchair racing is impossible to describe, and I know Greg has led much of that progress through his work with the Australian Paralympic Committee.
“It is due to organisations like the Australian Paralympic Committee and committed individuals like Greg that Paralympic athletes have been given more and more opportunities to reach their potential, and that momentum continues to build.”
Under Mr Hartung’s leadership, the APC has prepared successful Australian teams for eight Paralympic Games, established successful national programs in classification and talent identification, introduced a national Paralympic Education Program, and initiated programs to increase the representation of female athletes and athletes with higher levels of disability on the Australian Paralympic team.
“As part of the rapid evolution of the APC, Greg oversaw the creation of active partnerships with National Sports Federations in a process we term ‘mainstreaming’, which has made a significant and lasting impact on the success of Australia’s Paralympic athletes and teams,” Hellwig said.
Mr Hartung has also successfully lobbied for a more equitable level of federal sports funding for athletes with a disability and helped to deliver his vision of an organisation at the leading edge of Australian sport.
As a result of these initiatives and further accomplishments in fundraising and marketing, the APC has grown from a staff of less than 10 and a turnover of less than $3 million when Mr Hartung became President, to almost 60 staff and a turnover of more than $25 million annually.
This additional income has been used to grow the Paralympic movement in Australia by providing greater opportunities to athletes, coaches and support personnel. This support has helped maintain Australia’s position as a top five Paralympic nation internationally.
“The huge scale of work undertaken by the APC under Greg’s leadership really does speak volumes about his vision, ability and strategic approach as a sports administrator. It is simply world class,” Hellwig said.
Mr Hartung’s appointment as Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2013 Australia Day Honours List comes after his Order of Australia Medal (2002), Centenary Medal (2001) and Australian Sports Medal (2000).
Mr Hartung’s intricate knowledge of the Australian sport system stems from his involvement with the Australian Sports Commission where he served as Chair (2008-2010), Commissioner (1991-1996, 2005-2010) and inaugural General Manager (1984-88). He also held senior roles as President of the Confederation of Australian Sport, Chair of the Australian Sports Foundation, Deputy Chair of the Australian Coaching Council and Vice President of Sydney Paralympic Games Organising Committee.
His knowledge, ability and experience has been extremely sought after internationally.
After becoming a Governing Board Member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in 2001, Mr Hartung was elected to his current role of IPC Vice President in 2009.
He has also held positions on several International Olympic Committee (IOC) Commissions including the Coordination Commission for the 2016 Games in Rio (2010-2012), the IOC Evaluation Commission for 2016 (2008-2009), the IOC Press Commission (2011-2012) and the IOC Radio and Television Commission (2005-2012).
“Throughout his career, Greg has been an exemplary ambassador internationally for Australia and sport within our region,” Hellwig said.
“He has always been extremely passionate about the power of the Paralympic movement to make significant and positive change, not just in certain sections of the world.”
In 2000, Mr Hartung was elected as President of the South Pacific Paralympic Committee which set about establishing programs to assist Pacific nations to provide meaningful opportunities for Paralympic athletes.
These programs led to the establishment of the Oceania Paralympic Championships in 2007, and later produced the first medallist (Papua New Guinea’s Francis Kampoan in 2008) and first gold medallist (Fiji’s Illesa Delana in 2012) at a Paralympic Games for a Pacific nation apart from Australia and New Zealand.
“Greg is always striving for innovation and progress. He remains as committed as anyone to the ongoing growth of the Paralympic movement globally and meeting the challenge of improving the lives of those living with a disability,” Hellwig said.