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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1826 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

money went to women's sport. There has been no requirement for clubs, or the groups they are paying, to specify how much of the contribution goes towards women's participation, so there is no baseline data. It is mainly supposition.

It would be useful to have an educative approach. If we agree there is a problem with clubs' support of women in sport, we could draw attention to that by requesting more specific information from clubs on how much of their sporting grants assist women's participation in sport. That would mean that clubs would have to find out about women's participation from their grant recipients.

Perhaps the information could be categorised into women's competitions or other activities, mixed competitions or other activities, and men's competitions. It would also be interesting to see how much was spent on grassroots sports and activities as distinct from elite sports. Both have a place, but it would be good to see how much is spent on each. Reporting clearly on the balance between women's and men's sports would bring attention to it, which can be a powerful tool in social change.

My final point of opposition to this proposal is that we are changing the criteria for gaming machine revenue in a fairly ad hoc way. Important as increasing support for women's sport is, I do not believe any serious thought has been given to the relative importance of women's sport compared to services for homeless women, for instance. As other speakers have said, at whose cost will this bill be, and why have we chosen this area for special attention without looking at all the other priorities and then making a decision based on that information? Sport and other activities can be positive for people's engagement and sense of self as well as for fitness. But there are other very important priorities as well.

The system of gaming machine community contributions has already been skewed by including sports, so what effect will this bill have on overall contributions? It is true that most clubs contribute more than required, but that is no argument against the possibility that this bill may further skew where the money goes. It may even end up reducing the amount given to women's sport. Last year a club may have given $400 to a women's sporting competition. This year, if that club gives $300 it will count as $400. Is it really an incentive to give more?

There is also a question whether extra funding, if there is any, will go to grassroots activities or to elite sports. I have heard pleas from women's elite sports for easier access to sponsorship, so this is also a problem. High-profile women's sports also may increase participation generally through providing role models, planting the seed of the idea and so on.

There is also a strong argument for grassroots sports for women boosting opportunities for participation. I understand that the government has said they are seeking extra funds for grassroots sport through this measure. However, without regulations in front of us, we cannot see how the government will ensure that this happens. We need to be able to see what the target areas and groups are. How will the government ensure that money reaches them? Do new opportunities need to be provided?

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