SYDNEY, Feb 11, 2011 (AFP) - Australian sporting officials said Friday they had agreed to take a united stance against match-fixing to protect the integrity of the nation's sport.
Sports minister Mark Arbib said his regional-level colleagues had agreed that action was needed to deter and punish illegal practices.
"Australia is taking the lead on stamping-out match fixing and illegal betting, much as we have on the international stage with issues like drugs in sport," Arbib said in a statement.
"Australian sports ministers agree that corruption in sport is an emerging and critical issue facing Australian and international sport and we must work together to tackle the issue."
Under a national framework to address match-fixing in sport, Arbib said the ministers would support a nationally-consistent approach to legislation relating to the criminality of match-fixing.
He said they would also cooperate in information sharing and the development of better networks between governments, major sports, betting operators and law enforcers and develop a national code of conduct for sport.
The ministers also agreed to support global efforts to combat corruption including the establishment of a worldwide code of conduct and an international body similar to the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA).
Arbib said he would outline Australia's proposed framework at an International Olympic Committee Seminar on Combating Illegal and Irregular Sports Betting on March 1.
The joint initiative followed lobbying from a body representing major sports in Australia, which had called for legislation to help prevent betting-related corruption.
The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS) said Friday it had prepared a report addressing betting and corruption.
Bookmakers Betfair and Tabcorp and the federal government-funded Australian Sports Commission have also been involved in the COMPPS project.
Corruption in Australian sport has become a major issue in recent months amid a probe into suspicious betting activity surrounding last year's National Rugby League game between the Canterbury Bulldogs and North Queensland.
Punters stood to win more than Aus$300,000 ($300,000) after a series of bets were made on the first scoring play in the match.
Bulldogs forward Ryan Tandy was arrested and charged with giving false evidence to a police inquiry. He will face court on March 3.
COMPPS, which has former International Cricket Council chief Malcolm Speed as its executive director, represents Australia's governing bodies for Aussie rules, rugby union, cricket, football, netball, rugby league and tennis.