Gymnastics Australia (GA) has introduced a new Travel Policy aimed at providing more efficient, effective and safe travel for athletes, staff, parents and guardians with a particular focus on travel for athletes under 12 years of age.

The policy is also supported by new Travel Guidelines and aligns with GA’s recently introduced Child Safe and Member Protection Policies.

A key requirement of the new Travel Policy is that GA will not approve any overnight travel or stays for any child under the age of 12 unless they are accompanied on the trip by a parent(s) or guardian in order to protect the best interests of the child.

GA CEO, Kitty Chiller welcomed the new policy which comes with endorsement from all state and territory associations and the GA board.

"Travel is such a large part of gymnastics and whether it is intrastate, interstate or international travel, we need to ensure that everyone who travels has the right processes, support and safety measures in place," Ms Chiller said.

With so many gymnasts under 12 years of age we needed to create a policy and guidelines which support them and align with the new Child Safe and Member Protection Policies we introduced earlier this year.

"We believe we have a critical role in leading sport policy around the safety and protection of children and the new Travel Policy further enhances that, while also providing a clear set of rules for everyone who travels within the gymnastics community."

GA's new Travel Policy also reaffirms minimum requirements for ratios of officials to athletes under the age of 18, as well as ratios of female officials to underage female athletes.

The accompanying guidelines provide thorough advice and support for travelling individuals and groups along with risk assessment and analysis tools.

"More than 300 gymnastics events take place across Australia each year and we send hundreds of athletes all over the world to compete annually," Ms Chiller said.

"Athletes and officials often find themselves a long way from home so mitigating risk is key as well as ensuring everyone travelling has all the information and procedures to support them whenever they need them, no matter where they are."

GA's new Travel Policy comes into effect immediately for all GA-run camps and will be in place for domestic and international events and trips from 1 January 2020.