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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1820 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

As a parliament we need to do everything we can to encourage financial support for women in sport. An easy way to do this is to provide incentives for that support to be given. This bill does not force clubs to pay a certain amount. It does not tell them how to make their contributions. It says, "We would like you to donate to women's sport. To encourage you to do this, we offer you this incentive."

There are so many worthwhile women's sporting programs which could benefit from the increased attention extra sponsorship would attract. One which springs to mind is a program focusing on the mentoring of women in sport in the ACT. This program was initiated and facilitated by Heather Reid because she recognised that there was not enough support for women to take on leadership positions or roles within the very male-dominated sports industry here. Heather informed me that the female representation in leadership jobs in sports in the ACT reflects the national average of about 15 per cent. Obviously, if you are not attracting women to these positions, then the ability to lobby for women's sponsorship dollars is reduced. So there is so much work to be done in creating a level playing field-excuse the pun-for women in sport.

Programs which provide education, mentoring, training and support to ensure women stay in critical roles within the sports industry require and deserve the attention of sponsors. With extra support, I believe we will see more women remain in the industry to lobby for an equal share of all resources.

This bill is a positive step in the right direction for women's sport in the ACT. As this is a new measure, it will be useful to see whether the incentives offered by this bill deliver outcomes for women's sport. We need to encourage clubs to look towards women's sport, and this bill achieves that goal.

MS DUNDAS (12.00): There are a number of difficulties in the approach the government has taken with this bill. I agree that the funding, recognition and support that women's sport receives are dismally low compared to men's sport. That goes not only for this territory but nationally and internationally. There is a huge inequity for women's sport. This is something that not just those of us in the Assembly but sporting organisations, businesses, media and the community at large need to take responsibility for and begin to address.

I am glad that the government has taken up this issue and is attempting to do something, however small it might be. But the Australian Democrats have a number of concerns about the particular policy instrument the government has chosen to use.

I hold reservations about embracing the idea that the problem can be addressed by resorting to gambling revenue. I agree that gambling revenue is a large source of income for sporting organisations in general and that practically all of it goes to men's sport. But there is a contradiction in using the proceeds of something that causes social harm to do social good. I am uncomfortable with this sort of social mathematics that is often used as an excuse by governments and businesses to ignore problem gambling.

I bring this up because there seems to be very little consideration of policy options outside the realm of gambling revenue. The government seems to have overlooked or disregarded things like the allocation of government sporting grants or direct government funding of women's sport. They seem to have talked very little about working with

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