Women’s participation in club-based team sports has boomed in recent years but many community sporting clubs still lack appropriate facilities for women and girls, including change rooms.
Cricket experienced 61 per cent growth in female participation over the four years to 2020 but only 20 per cent of venues have change rooms that are female friendly – and many other sports are in the same situation.
The Morrison Government has a history of using women’s sport as cover for spending taxpayers’ money on its own political purposes.
The Government announced that boosting female participation was a key goal of the Community Sport Infrastructure Grants program (“Sports Rorts”) but ignored highly-rated applications for women’s change rooms in favour of projects in marginal and target seats that were not recommended for grants by Sport Australia.
Scott Morrison and Bridget McKenzie said the $150 million so-called ‘Female Facilities and Water Safety Stream’ they announced just before the 2019 election was “specifically to help build new female change rooms” so women and girls wouldn’t have to “get changed behind towels on the side of fields or in cars” but then spent more than $100 million on swimming pools in marginal seats.
The Morrison Government also gave Fox Sports $30 million (later topped up with another $10 million), which it claimed was to increase coverage of women’s sport. But no guidelines, goals or criteria were developed before the funding was provided. The Government often says “you can’t be what you can’t see” – spending taxpayers’ money to subsidise women’s sport being locked behind a subscription paywall certainly doesn’t help.
We welcome funding for the Matildas and women’s basketball World Cup. The Government should also provide more funding to support women and girls participation in grassroots sport.
When they got caught out on Sports Rorts, Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg flagged further funding in the 2020-21 Budget for the communities they ripped off. They didn’t deliver. And they haven’t made good in this Budget.