Page 2406 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 August 2017

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Ellyse Perry came to Canberra United in 2009 and won the club player of the year award in her first season. Although she was only 19 at the time, Ellyse had already spent three years playing in both the Australian soccer and the Australian cricket teams. Let us just reflect on that for a moment. At age 16, Ellyse Perry was representing Australia internationally in two sports. Nowadays cricket—where she is arguably the best player in the world—has taken precedence for Ellyse.

The ACT government’s commitment ensures that Canberra will continue to play host to athletes like Lauren and Ellyse. Ongoing support for professional sporting teams and venues in the ACT ensures that teams like the Canberra Capitals, Canberra United and the GWS Giants will remain in the capital. This means every Canberran will have the opportunity to witness some of the greatest athletes undertake their trade.

But it is not just a good look that Canberrans obtain from this funding. As we all know, elite sporting clubs do an incredible amount of good within our communities. Our athletes regularly offer their time to attend sports clinics, schools and hospitals to mentor, coach and inspire our youngsters. Earlier this year the Giants netball and football sides both played their first-ever home games in the ACT. The Giants have established Canberra as an academy base for both sports, with links to the Canberra Giants netball program and Canberra AFL. To demonstrate these links, both teams made themselves available for coaching clinics and to meet fans.At such a pivotal time in women’s sport these athletes act as role models for young women of Canberra. The advancements in women’s sport today reflect the progress made in women’s affairs more broadly. Our young women, whether they be professional athletes or playing in the thirds at their local club, will all continue to advance the cause that this generation of women and those who came before them progressed. For this reason it is also important that we continue to support sport at the grassroots level and continue to make it more accessible to women. As part of the implementation of the ACT women’s plan, the ACT government held an education forum to identify practices within schools which promote or discourage girls’ participation in sport and active recreation. The discussion identified how sports infrastructure can act as a deterrent to some women’s participation. Seemingly small things such as poor lighting and bathroom facilities can have large impacts in discouraging young women from participating.

To begin to address these issues, this year’s budget commences the next phase of increasing women’s participation in sport through the implementation of the ACT women’s plan. We are investing $500,000 to help deliver more female-friendly sports infrastructure, enabling more women to take to the sports field. This approach can be seen in the recent redevelopment of the Gowrie oval amenities. Many of the projects funded through the community football infrastructure program will also adopt these measures, as will the design of the upgraded pavilion at Southwell Park and the forthcoming upgrades to Narrabundah ballpark.

This motion calls on the government to continue to work with the local sports community to continue to increase women’s participation in sport in the ACT. This is something I am fully supportive of. As a member for Yerrabi, earlier this year I was

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