The Australia Athletes’ Alliance (AAA) – the peak body for Australia’s elite professional athletes – today announced that the Australian Jockeys’ Association (AJA) is the latest representative body to join forces with the AAA.
Representing 860 professional jockeys (including apprentices and jumps jockeys) throughout the nation, the AJA enjoys the jockeys’ overwhelming support with a clear mandate to represent their interests through the AJA, their national peak body.  Each state jockeys’ association is affiliated with AJA and membership is provided to all Australian jockeys who are members of their state association.
The AAA now speaks for 3,500 of Australia’s elite professional athletes through Australia’s 8 leading players’ and athletes’ associations:
Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA)
Australian Football League Players’ Association (AFLPA)
Australian Jockeys’ Association (AJA)
Australian Netball Players’ Association (ANPA)
Australian Swimmers’ Association (ASA)
Professional Footballers Australia (PFA)
Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA)
Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA)
AAA General Secretary Brendan Schwab said the AAA has a vital role to play as sport becomes increasingly professional and commercial in Australia and confronts a number of challenges to its viability and integrity.
“Through their example of hard work and sacrifice, the 3,500 athletes under the umbrella of the AAA are a major inspiration to our sports loving nation and encourage young people to live out their dreams.
“However, the demands sport places on our athletes increase every day.  A sporting career remains short term and precarious and, as a result, the fundamental rights of athletes must be respected by our policy and law makers, both within government and our sporting bodies,” Schwab said.
The AAA believes a major challenge confronting sport at present is to achieve a balance between its commercial and sporting objectives.  Emerging commercial opportunities such as sports betting present a threat to the integrity of sport and call for a balanced policy response which respects the rights of athletes.
“It is essential that Australia’s elite athletes are at the table when Australia’s sporting future is mapped out,” Schwab added.
The Board of the AAA, ACA CEO Paul Marsh; AFLPA CEO Matt Finnis; AJA CEO Paul Innes; ASA General Manager Robyn Danzey; PFA Chairman John Poulakakis; RLPA CEO David Garnsey and RUPA Acting CEO Omar Hassanein met recently to consider the AAA’s progress and future priorities.  The meeting confirmed ACA CEO Paul Marsh as AAA Chairman and PFA CEO Brendan Schwab as the AAA’s part-time General Secretary.
Schwab said it is very important that Australia’s professional footballers work with elite athletes from other sports to advance their common interests.
“The PFA has a longstanding commitment to the success of the AAA.  By acting as one, we will be able to ensure that the interests of our members are addressed in Australia’s leading political and industrial forums.  We will also benefit greatly from sharing in the knowledge and expertise of our fellow players’ associations.”
The AAA was formally established in 2007 after several years of informal cooperation between Australia’s players’ associations.  Its achievements in its short history include ensuring a health based approach to illicit drugs regulation in Australian sport and conducting a successful test case before the High Court of Australia which resulted in the tax deductibility of player agent fees.