The findings of The State of the Game Review have been revealed ©Netball Australia

Netball Australia has welcomed the results of an independent review which claims the organisation’s governance is "outdated" and that there is a "a lack of trust" in the system.

Led by Australia’s most-capped player, Liz Ellis, The State of the Game Review has been published, with its findings and eight recommendations gaining support from Netball Australia.

The review was carried out over the past five months and saw more than 10,000 netball stakeholders, including players, parents and administrators, take part in a survey.

It has been a challenging year for Netball Australia which has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic and faced criticism over a lack of diversity. 

Participation rates have indicated just 4 per cent of the country’s netball community is indigenous.

According to The State of the Game Review, the "greatest challenges" Netball Australia faces are internal.

"The most obvious one is the inability of Australian netball to align at all levels on what it wants to achieve and how it wants to achieve it," the report read.

"This is exacerbated by a lack of trust both vertically and horizontally in the Australian netball system; a lack of clarity at all levels around responsibilities and accountabilities; duplication and inefficiencies in administrative functions across the national and state bodies; and the financial costs of investing in and supporting the growth of SSN [Suncorp Super Netball].

"This is overlaid by an outdated governance system that has led at different times to overreach by and instability of boards at all levels."

Among the eight recommendations given to Netball Australia are the establishment of a high-performance working group to improve diversity and align player pathways as well as put together a strategy to strengthen fan engagement.

Two-time Commonwealth Games champion Liz Ellis led the independent review into the game in Australia ©Getty Images
Two-time Commonwealth Games champion Liz Ellis led the independent review into the game in Australia ©Getty Images

Netball Australia and its state- and territory-based member organisations, all eight SSN clubs, the Australian Netball Players’ Association and the Confident Girls Foundation welcomed the report.

"As the report directly reflects the views of our diverse Netball Nation it came as no surprise that netball’s internal stakeholders have demonstrated their desire to work together to deliver on the review’s core recommendations," said Netball Australia chair Paolina Hunt.

"The State of the Game Review is the largest scale independent review ever conducted into netball – carried out over five months and integrating the voices of over 10,000 netball stakeholders – and the insights gained provide an accurate and current data set from which to launch the panel’s recommendations.

"We have a great opportunity, leading into Netball Australia’s centenary year in 2027, to set the sport up for the next 100 years, and I’m very much looking forward to working together with key stakeholders as we align for growth and success as an outcome of the review process."

Netball Australia said it would appoint an individual or organisation to manage the implementation of the recommendations across the broader netball system in early 2021.

Ellis, a two-time Commonwealth Games champion, said she was delighted to see the Australian netball come together in support of the recommendations and look to bring them to life.

"The review identified some key changes critical to the growth of netball during the coming months and years," said Ellis.

"These changes, while major, are the outcome of extensive consultation and a perceived desire at all levels to see netball evolve to become a major player in Australian sport from grassroots through to professional and elite.

"It is pleasing that netball’s core bodies have accepted the information uncovered through the review and have committed to coming together to implement change."