Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 August 2017) . . Page.. 2410 ..
some of the funding provided in the 2017 budget that will aim to deliver on some of the issues I have talked about today. I am very keen to support those initiatives, and I welcome the fact that Ms Berry, in taking on the sports portfolio, has brought a particular focus to women’s participation in sport. In my own time as the minister for sport I was very supportive of it, but Ms Berry brings a new energy to it, and I wish her well in trying to promote this. I offer her my support in continuing to encourage female participation in sport.
There are many angles to the issue. Saying to young women, “Get out there and have a go,” and telling them about some of the opportunities is one part of it, and it is something we can all do as members of this place. The Greens are very pleased to support this motion today. We know there is a long way to go in encouraging more female participation. We are right behind the initiatives that seek to do that.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (5.38): I thank Ms Orr for raising this important motion here today. I have spoken many times about sport and recreation in this place, highlighting the equalising effect that sport can have on different groups. It offers an important vehicle to improve equity and culture around gender across our community. But when we drill down and look at our participation data, despite a strong overall performance, it shows that girls often move away from sport in their teens. We need to make sure that we are working to reverse this statistic, if for nothing other than better health as these girls transition into adults. More than that, the government wants to create for these young women a lifelong love of active living and sports participation.
There are so many great leaders and role models in our local sports community, and the government knows that with their help we can reach out and empower more people to understand and embrace the need for gender equity. This has been a consistent priority of the ACT government and of mine. As members will know, the government took extensive commitments in this area to the election last October, and the 2017 budget put those commitments into motion. Unfortunately, the Canberra Liberals did not do the same thing and today, rather than talking about women’s and girls’ participation in sport, used the opportunity to talk about sport more generally. We know that work needs to be done to keep women and girls engaged in sport, and that is what the ACT government is committed to.
Most notably, the work of the ACT government includes establishing four-year funding agreements with both the Canberra Capitals basketball team and the Canberra United football team. These agreements are a major change to the way the government approaches elite sport, particularly elite women’s sport. This is the first time that both these teams have had four-year funding agreements, which means that they can secure ongoing sponsorship outside of the ACT government’s funding and it gives them better chances to get even more people involved in their sports. Yes, it is elite sport, but it is very important for women and girls to have women role models to look up to so that they can aspire at some point in their sporting careers to play for the Canberra caps or for the Canberra United women’s football team. I am enormously proud of the government’s work in supporting these two women’s teams.