Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has established a formal partnership with the Australian Olympic Committee, extending her long-running support for multiple Olympic sports.
Under the agreement, Hancock Prospecting will sponsor the Australian teams competing at next month’s winter Olympics in Beijing, the 2024 summer Olympics in Paris and 2026 winter Olympics in Italy.
Her company will also support Australian teams at the Youth Olympic Games in 2024 and 2026 and the Pacific Games in 2023.
The partnership builds on 30 years of support Mrs Rinehart has provided to various sports, starting with her sponsorship of the WA Swimming Association in 1992.
Since 2012, Mrs Rinehart has supported the Olympic swimming squad, providing direct financial support to dozens of swimmers so they can focus on their training.
She has also provided support for volleyball, synchronised swimming and rowing, for which she has bankrolled specialist coaching and pre-Olympics camps.
The scale of her support has never been officially confirmed but is understood to be several million dollars per year.
For context, Mrs Rinehart is considered Australia’s richest person with an estimated fortune of $30 billion.
AOC president John Coates commended Mrs Rinehart’s support and highlighted its impact at the Tokyo Olympics.
"There is no coincidence that the strong support of Mrs Gina Rinehart for many of our athletes in Tokyo yielded excellent results,” he said.
“There were so many golden moments and success in the pool, our rowers had a wonderful games, as did our beach volleyballers.
"While delighted that this partnership will assist with our teams at future games, I am also extremely grateful for the ongoing support for so many athletes at the grassroots.
“While that support is separate to this arrangement, it is a remarkable illustration of Mrs Gina Rinehart's commitment to Australian sport at all levels.”
Mrs Rinehart said she expected to continue providing direct support to Olympic athletes through to 2032.
"We are delighted to take the next step in our long-term support of Australia's best athletes and become an official Australian Olympic Committee partner,” she said.
“As we announce this partnership, we are delighted to confirm that we have committed our long-term direct athlete support funding to the top-tier athletes from rowing, swimming, artistic swimming and volleyball until Paris 2024, with a strong intent to continue this all the way until and including Brisbane 2032.”
Mrs Rinehart, who is a long-running critic of government regulation, used today’s announcement to continue that campaign.
She noted that the AOC does not receive any government funding.
"At Hancock, we believe it is important that if there is government funding to other sporting bodies, that it be strictly applied to support the Olympians and future Olympians, their coaches and training requirements and participation in sport,” she said.
“We believe government or sponsor funds should be used to ensure sport is at the service of the community and the athletes, and much tighter scrutiny of taxpayers and sponsors funds would assist.
"As Australia looks to hosting an Olympic Games in ten years, it will be important for our country to be open to investment and reduce the regulatory burden that impacts development needed to help make Queensland shine and the games a success.”