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Prominent Barrister Appointed Chair to Panel of Female Experts

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Chris Ronalds AO SC will head the independent panel of female experts to investigate issues relating to women and girls' experience and the advancement of swimming for all athletes across the sport.

Ms Ronalds is a prominent Sydney barrister who is highly regarded in discrimination and harassment law, employment law and administrative law. She played a pivotal role in the development of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

The panel has been formed to assist Swimming Australia to promote a culture of continuous improvement and accountability.

"I am pleased to have been appointed in this role as Chair," Ms Ronalds said.

"This is important work and a continuation of the professional commitment I have to equality and accessibility.

"The community can be assured this will be an independent process and I look forward to presenting some outcomes that will ensure swimming will be a safe and successful environment in Australia in the future.

Now Ms Ronalds has been appointed as the Chair, she will select other panel members to assist with the scope of work.

Among the issues to be investigated are:

  • the structures and systems across Australian swimming
  • the behaviour, conduct and practises of people in authority
  • ways to support the advancement of women in high performance coaching roles
  • how to effectively address issues concerning performance physique in sport
  • the complaints process across the organisational structure of Swimming Australia

"And while the focus is on females in the swimming community, our panel will work for the betterment of all in the swimming community," she said.

"With the work of this panel comes real opportunity for all sports to learn and grow.”

Swimming Australia board member Tracy Stockwell was charged with appointing the Chair.

"The inquiry will be forward looking and solution-focussed with an understanding of issues facing the swimming community today within a performance environment," Ms Stockwell said.

"Ms Ronalds is the perfect person for this job. We are very lucky to have someone

with her experience and expertise. We know Ms Ronalds is solution focussed but also aware and well versed in the process that it takes to get this work right," she said.

Swimming Australia CEO Alex Baumann said the appointment was a significant one for the future of swimming.

"We want what is best for swimming and the swimming community. I look forward to hearing the recommendations of the panel and working with them towards improving and evolving our sport into the future," Mr Baumann said.

In addition to the new panel, Swimming Australia is undertaking a separate strategic review, instigated by Mr Baumann when he stepped into the CEO role seven weeks ago.

The original article can be found here.

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