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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1324 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

constraints facing women that do not face men. To wind up, the women's jogalong was the first sporting event in Canberra to provide full, free child care, and I cannot overemphasise the importance of that.

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. The women's jogalong is a wonderful event.

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired. You do not get an extension in the adjournment debate.

Women's and Girls Jogalong

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (3.54): Mr Speaker, I would like to join with Mr Stanhope in congratulating the women's jogalong on 21 years of fine achievement. Yes, I have been along, Mr Stanhope, and I must go again, although I do not know whether I could run the six kilometres. Five is quite enough for me these days, and I do it slowly.

Mr Stanhope is right in terms of the need to encourage women into sporting events, and events like the women's jogalong are excellent in relation to that. As a result of some steps the Bureau of Sport and Recreation have taken over the last three or more years to actively encourage participation by women, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of women and girls participating in events. It does not have to be supercompetitive. It is just events which they enjoy doing and which they do not feel threatened in. They can get out there, have a good time and develop skills, and perhaps that will then lead them to taking up other physical activity.

I am pleased to say that I think it is a result of significant efforts we have made in the ACT over the last few years. We have the highest participation rate by women - that is classed now as 15 years-plus - of any State or Territory. I think we are about 10 or 12 per cent in front of our nearest rivals. I think the figure is well over 50 per cent. It is still below that of men - we have an incredibly high 72 per cent participation rate for men and boys over 15 - but it is something that is narrowing. We, as a government, actively encourage the participation of women in various sporting events.

One of the key reasons for adopting the physical education in schools policy at the end of 1995 was to encourage young teenage girls to get into activities which were enjoyable at school. There are about 60 listed activities which are there to encourage young teenage kids, especially girls, to get into physical activity. Hopefully, that will then become a lifelong pursuit. Certainly, events like this are worthy of encouragement, and I think 21 years is a very good time to celebrate.

Mr Stanhope also mentioned a problem. I went to a seminar last year at which I spoke in relation to getting the media more involved in quality women's events. That is incredibly difficult, Mr Speaker. I am pleased to say that over the last couple of years, probably as a result of Atlanta and the success of some of the Australian women athletes there, the

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