I’m always glad to jump at the opportunity to talk about the importance of sports grants for supporting women and girls in sport in Canberra, and in deed, talk about what governments can do to even up the playing field, so to speak, when we’re talking about equal chances across the sporting spectrum.
Many will recall that during the 2016 ACT election, the Labor party made a number of election commitments that strive to get more women and girls back into sport.
Since the election, these commitments have been turned into programs on the ground through initiatives funded through recent budgets.
The government’s agenda is an ‘equality’ agenda – just in my portfolio areas alone, we’re doing vital work in the areas of education, housing, women’s policy, family safety policy, and through sport and recreation policy – all of this work in these areas is seeking to drive fairness, and equality right across our city.
And as the government has developed its approach to this work it is obvious to me that when we listen to the ideas coming straight from those who are impacted, so that we can better develop an agenda that will make a real difference on the ground.
I have spoken repeatedly about the government’s commitment to achieving gender equality.
And of course, I reaffirm this commitment.
What I have said many times is that this is a challenge which needs to be taken on in every part of government, in private enterprise, in the community and in the home. And I would argue that it needs to be embraced by all.
This year, the government together with the Ministerial Advisory Council on Women, will get stuck into further implementation of the Women’s Plan.
We will continue our work that allows us to reach out to the many champions for gender equity – both women and men – to keep this work on track and continue to show national leadership that is desperately needed.
After two years of particular emphasis in the prevention of domestic and family violence and in the sports portfolio, the government continues, in 2018, to make further strides in this important work.
And this year my focus as Minister will be on further improvements to sporting amenities and I have just recently announced a series of new grants for this purpose.
At the national level, the ACT has been pushing hard for the need to agree clear targets for growing participation and promoting gender equity in sport.
I’ll continue to do my best through my portfolios in contributing to this work.
I spent much of 2016 talking with the sports community about the needs they had.
We’d all agree Canberra’s sporting clubs are full of community champions and volunteers who make a great contribution to the city.
The government spoke extensively with women and girls (and men and boys) in shaping gender equity commitments.
People at all levels of sport shared the view that we should take action on creating a greater profile and more online space for female sport.
From that evolved a commitment to partner with HerCanberra on a new online platform and it was great to launch this new initiative late in 2017.
What the government’s investment has enabled is the promotion and sharing of local female sporting content like never before.
HerCanberra has a large and growing audience, including in the key age ranges where participation needs to grow.
Each investment the government makes, contributes to the ultimate goal of better health, inclusion, participation and equity through sport.
Data tells us that overall females are more active than males in the ACT, however it is important to gain a deeper understanding. When participation is broken down across age groups, young women from 15 years to mid-twenties are less active than their male counterparts. And across the board, less women participate in sport, with a preference shown for more recreation and fitness related activities such as walking and gym sessions.
Some key achievements already on the board include:
- Full funding for all election commitments towards gender equity in sport which include:
- Four year funding agreements with both the Canberra Capitals and Canberra United
- A further $1 million for programs which work to encourage and empower women and girls at all levels of sport over the next four years
- $500,000 for female friendly sports infrastructure
- $400,000 in incentive funding for sports to lead on gender equity
- $100,000 for a new female sport online hub at HerCanberra (recently launched)
- The recent announcement of the 2018 Sport and Recreation Grants Program included more than $49,000 allocated to eight separate initiatives through our designated Women’s Sport and Recreation Participation and Leadership Program. Further programs are under consideration.
- These initiatives will roll out this year and include support for female coach development (Softball ACT and Capital Football), an inclusive netball project through the Tuggeranong Netball Association targeted at refugee and Muslim women ($10,000) and participation program through Pedal Power to educate and equip women from newly arrived communities to engage in cycling for transport and recreation ($6,955).
I’m looking forward to what’s next in this space.
This government will continue to champion equality through the spectrum of community participation and sport.