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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1819 ..

MR SPEAKER: You are just about to come to the taxing issue, aren't you?

MRS CROSS: I am, Mr Speaker. I am delighted that you are entertained by all this. Netball is a game that moves fast, requires a high level of fitness-which I know you have, Mr Speaker-and coordination, and at its top levels requires skills of a very high order, which I know many members in this chamber possess. It is an activity that inspires passion by those who play and those who watch. It is worth recording that netball was one of the eight foundation sports when the AIS opened in 1981, and considerable success has followed from that.

Finally, despite the occasional victory from those across the Tasman, the Australian national netball team has been the best in the world for a considerable time.

Admittedly, netball is only one of many women's sporting activities, but it serves as a useful example of what good organisation can do to lift awareness and promote participation. As such, it is a role model for the organisation for other women's sports.

The opposition welcome greater investment in women's sports in the ACT. It seems that media interest more often centres on those women's sports with the skimpiest clothing or those sportswomen who are the best in the world. This makes sponsorship much harder for women who are talented but yet to break into top-level competition. This is unfortunate and needs to change.

We need to assist the young Dawns, Cathys and Lisas of Australian sport in constructive ways. We also need to provide assistance to the young women of Canberra to become, or stay, involved in sport at a recreational level. Hopefully, this legislation, as amended by the opposition, will do just that.

MS GALLAGHER (11.56): I am not sure whether I am going to be as entertaining as Mrs Cross. I certainly feel better informed about netball than I have been for some time. I will speak briefly on the bill. The bill, if passed, will provide incentives for ACT licensed clubs to make financial contributions to women's sport in the territory. The incentive is an extra credit of $1 that can be applied towards their total reportable community contributions for every $3 they contribute to women's sport.

In the ACT we have the highest rate of women's participation in sport. Something like 48 per cent of all women engage in some form of physical activity. This is slightly higher than the national average. Women in sport in the ACT are doing amazing things, from the elite level with the Capitals and the Eclipse to groups such as Females in Training to all the women and girls who get out on weekends to play netball, softball, soccer, rugby and hockey.

At the recreational and grassroots level, organisations are managing competitions and training sessions without large amounts of financial support. They do everything from providing oranges and uniforms to holding raffles and sausage sizzles to gain extra funds. As in most areas in our community, inequity exists between the financial support given to men's sport and the amount given to women's sport. For some reason, sponsorship for men's sport is easier to get than it is for women's sport, despite the incredible efforts of women in sport in the ACT.

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