Over the weekend, Australian Businesswoman and current President of Australian Women’s Rugby Josephine Sukkar was appointed chair of the Australian Sports Commission– the first woman to ever hold the role.
Sukkar is the co-founder and principal of construction company Buildcorp, which she established with her husband Tony Sukkar three decades ago. In 2019, she was on Sydney Morning Herald’s list of 50 Most Influential Women in Australian Sport for her leadership positions at the Australian Women’s Rugby and Australian Rugby Foundation.
In her new appointment over the next three years, Sukkar will be overseeing Sport Australia and furthering its goals to increase participation of sports at all levels. She will also be monitoring the Australian Institute of Sport with its responsibilities in improving the country’s high performing sport sector.
In a statement, Sukkar said she is looking forward to “engaging with Australian athletes and sports organisations to address their challenges, particularly those posed by COVID-19.”
“I also want to help them achieve their goals and build participation in our many sports.”
Sukkar will be tasked with rebuilding the public’s trust in the sporting sector following the sports grants controversy last year and managing the financial strain on numerous sports after COVID-19 government regulations saw the temporary suspension of youth sports programs.
She will also be looking to find a balance between government funding, private investment and the contributions made by volunteers, generating a sustainable sports model and strengthening the relationship between Olympic and non-Olympic sports.
Over the weekend, Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said Sukkar’s extensive history of leadership and her deep understanding and passion for sports in Australia will ensure she positively influences the future of the sector in the country.
“For three decades, Ms Sukkar has helped lead a successful Australian family-owned business through many challenges, including the global financial crisis and most recently COVID-19,” Colbeck said.
“During this time, she has also been a strong contributor to the national sporting community, most notably driving increased female participation through her involvement in Australian Women’s Rugby.”
“I am delighted she will now use her experience and passion to lead Australian sport as we navigate through a COVID-safe world. Ms Sukkar will play a vital part in shaping the future of sport and I look forward to working with her to ensure the sport sector in Australia is prepared, adaptable and resilient.”
“Sporting clubs and organisations at every level faced the most challenging of circumstances in 2020. COVID-19 has changed how we all participate in or watch our favourite sports.”
Outgoing chair John Wylie, who has been in the position for the last eight years, said Sukkar’s appointment is “excellent”.
“Josephine leads a successful business, is well regarded in the business world and is president of Australian Women’s Rugby,” he said.
“It’s great to see the first female chair of the ASC, I congratulate her and wish her all the very best in the role.”
Sukkar will remain in her role as principal of Buildcorp Group, and continue to sit on the board of Growthpoint Properties Australia and Opera Australia. She will also remain as Governor of The Centenary Institute and a member of the Infrastructure Advisory Board at the University of Melbourne.
As a member of the Buildcorp Advisory Board, Sukkar oversees the Human Resources, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility and also Chairs the Buildcorp Charitable Fund, a managed fund within the Trust Company Foundation, supporting community initiatives in mental health, suicide prevention, and organisations including Lifehouse at RPA, SAN Hospital in Wahroonga and several other charities. She will begin her new role on February 8th.
Photo Credit: James Brickwood