Despite Australia's national sporting obsession and the excitement in the weekend's upcoming grand finals, the bulk of our sports funding literally accomplishes nothing of any public benefit and could be redeployed to other areas of the health budget to achieve far better outcomes.

The federal government is planning to spend nearly a billion dollars on sports over the next four years, with the bulk of the money flowing to the Australian Sports Commission, which administers both mass participation programs (like the "Sporting Schools" program) and elite sports grants, with the current split one-third for the former and two-thirds for the latter. According to the ASC's last annual report, last year, over $200 million was paid to elite sports. Athletics, basketball, cycling, hockey, rowing and sailing were the biggest recipients -- all received over $5 million in funding last year, while swimming topped them all, with $12.6 million.