Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1823 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
The central problem is that this so-called incentive only gives clubs the opportunity to cut their community donations. This bill makes the assumption that clubs are interested in minimising community contributions. Given that clubs are supposed to exist in order to serve the interests of the community and most clubs give much more than they are required to give, this assumption seems ill founded. This might be a good assumption if we were dealing with profit-making businesses but clubs, constitutionally, are not. We are dealing with community organisations looking to maximise the benefits for their members and the wider population.
There seems to have been very little discussion of other legislative methods of implementing the purpose of this bill. It appears that a particular mechanism has been decided upon without a lot of consideration. It would be good to discuss the relative merits of other approaches, including a matching funding mechanism that required clubs to give a percentage of sporting donations to both men and women's sport or a community-based board to guide funding allocations.
I will be moving an amendment to this bill to insert a sunset clause, as I believe we should ensure that if this bill is passed this issue is brought back before the Assembly before any such regime is implemented in perpetuity. It will also give us an opportunity to view this mechanism in conjunction with other amendments to the Gaming Machine Act that may arise from the review currently under way or other things that come up as we discuss this issue.
MR PRATT (12.09): I support the need to amend the government's bill in order to guarantee revenue for women's sport. My colleague Mrs Cross spoke most eloquently of skirts and bustles-excuse me while I go a fraction dizzy over that-and gave a colourful history of Australian women's netball.
The opposition seeks to increase the designated levy for clubs from 6 to 7 per cent as from 1 July and guarantee one half per cent of that levy for women's sports. This would mean an extra $500,000 per annum for women's sports. It is very important that women's sport be well supported.
Women's sport often misses out on revenue and sponsorships. Most high-profile sporting teams in the ACT, by tradition, are men's teams. They tend to attract greater sponsorship. Perhaps it is time we started to discriminate in favour of women's sports. Women's sports in the ACT have the greatest percentage of community participants in this country. They have a proud tradition. It is time the community undertook assertive strategies to give a boost to women's sport. This is what the opposition seeks to do in its endeavour to amend the government's bill.
We must also continue to encourage school-aged and young adult women, along with their young male colleagues, to maintain their community sporting interests. Sport is important to community spirit and as a preventative health measure. When teenagers are wondering about their priorities in life, it is important to encourage them to be involved in sport. Therefore, funding to encourage participation is important.