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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 March 2018) . . Page.. 744 ..

Aside from the variety and options available to the community, the best part was that there were very few boundaries to participation. It did not matter where you had come from, how much money you had or your social status—the community just made sure that you had the necessary resources to get involved and take part.

Here in Canberra, with the average registration fee costing parents well over $200 and playing costs ranging from $10 to $20 per week, sport is becoming more and more out of reach for the average family. This is where I would like to see the government contribute more to Canberra by making sports affordable. It opens up opportunities for more girls and women to shine on the sporting field.

This brings me to the important area of government grants. This government often spruiks the funding and grants it provides for the community. On this side of the chamber we support the effective and efficient use of public funds. This includes resourcing sport and recreation while also providing additional grants to encourage groups that are sometimes underrepresented, such as the Indigenous community or girls and women in sport.

I find it very interesting that today the government has brought this issue to the chamber when, of the $2.4 million available for the sports and recreation grants program, only $49,155 went to the women’s sport and recreation and leadership program. This represents a two per cent investment by this government in girls’ and women’s sport pursuits at a local grassroots level. Yes, it may be fashionable to stand in this chamber and talk about the importance of grants for supporting women and girls in sport in Canberra, but what the community needs from this government is less talk and more action.

The state of our local sporting grounds and facilities adds to this tragedy. Sports like rugby and cricket often have to use substandard grounds that lack even the basics. Of note is a local club in my electorate of Yerrabi, the Hall Bushrangers. This club have been trying without success to get their ground maintained, with the bigger goal of having adequate facilities built—things like toilets and change rooms so that their emerging women’s rugby team can train, play and participate alongside the men, and lights so they can train at night and feel safe doing so.

This is the stuff that local clubs need. Get the basics right so that more Canberran women and girls can participate. Whilst it is great to see sport and recreation receive recognition in this chamber, this government does not deliver. Being in opposition provides me the opportunity to give local sporting clubs a voice. I can write letters, ask questions, attend briefings, and I can make the government explain their actions. Equally, at a strategic level, I am able to meet with sporting associations and bodies, hear their stories and understand how they are trying to influence government.

Unfortunately, I am not able to change the way the government resources local sport and recreation and therefore am unable to address the mere two per cent of funding provided to the women’s sport and recreation participation and leadership program. But what I can do today is call out the government and highlight that their attempt to portray themselves as a hero for women’s sport is flawed. The real heroes are out in

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