Securing a sporting legacy for women and girls

The Albanese Government is proud to announce one of Australia’s biggest comprehensive investments in women’s sports, with funding and reforms to help more women play sport, and ensure more Australians are able to cheer on our phenomenal sports stars on free-to-air television.

The Hon Anika Wells MP
Minister for Aged Care
Minister for Sport

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General public

The Albanese Government is proud to announce one of Australia’s biggest comprehensive investments in women’s sports, with funding and reforms to help more women play sport, and ensure more Australians are able to cheer on our phenomenal sports stars on free-to-air television.

In the past decade, we’ve seen an extraordinary rise in women’s participation in community sport.

The Government is backing their talent, hard work and aspiration by launching our $200 million Play Our Way program to improve sporting facilities and equipment specifically for women and girls.

Crucially, the Government will also work to ensure that iconic women’s sporting events - like the Matildas history-making and record-breaking FIFA Women’s World Cup Semi Final - are increasingly available for all Australians to watch and enjoy for free.

The Matildas, The Diamonds, The Wallaroos and our other world class teams have captured the nation's hearts and changed Australian sport forever, and we must ensure this momentum ripples through generations.

Play Our Way will create new opportunities for families and communities to come together by building safer, modern environments for women and girls to play sport.

With an investment of $200 million, our Play our Way grants program will promote equal access, build more suitable facilities, and support grassroots initiatives to get women and girls to engage, stay, and participate in sport throughout their lives.

The program will be available for all sports but it is anticipated soccer, as the highest participation sport in Australia, will need significant resourcing in the wake of the greatest Women's World Cup ever.

Importantly, an expert panel of women with a lived experience navigating community sport through to professional sport will help design the Play Our Way program to ensure it produces the most needed facilities in the most needed areas:

  • Tal Karp 
  • Lauren Jackson 
  • Liz Ellis 
  • Madison De Rozario

Play our Way is an opportunity for local governments, community organisations, the not-for-profit sector and sporting organisations to seek funding for localised solutions and improvements.

Program design will ensure integrity and transparency by including guidance by experts through an advisory panel so that funding is targeted to where it is most needed and will have the greatest impact.

Guidelines for Play Our Way grants are in development and it is expected applications will open by early 2024.

The Government also committed to reviewing the anti-siphoning scheme ahead of the 2022 election, recognising that the market in which sporting events are televised and consumed by audiences is rapidly evolving.

This review has found that while the core objective of the anti-siphoning scheme – to promote free access to important events – remains relevant, the scheme needs to be modernised to incorporate online services to mitigate the risk of events slipping behind paywalls.

The review also found that the composition of the anti-siphoning list needs to be reconsidered with respect to women’s sports and Para-sports.

We are releasing the proposals paper, which outlines three reform models to modernise the anti-siphoning scheme.

Options canvassed include preventing streaming and other online services, along with subscription television broadcasters, from acquiring a right to provide coverage of an event on the anti siphoning list until a free-to-air broadcaster has a right to televise the event on a free to air broadcasting service.

The Government’s preferred model affirms free-to-air broadcasting services as the ‘safety net’ for free access to nationally important and culturally significant sporting events for all Australians.

The paper also outlines three options to amend the list once reforms to the scheme are implemented, including additions to include events in the Paralympic Games, the AFL Women’s Premiership, the NRL Women’s Premiership and the NRL Women’s State of Origin Series.

All of the list options in the paper would include men’s and women’s Rugby League, Rugby Union, Cricket and Soccer matches that involve a senior Australian representative team, providing for consistent treatment of these matches irrespective of gender.

Feedback on the proposals paper will inform the development of legislation to modernise the anti siphoning scheme and list, which will be introduced in Parliament in the coming months.

Submissions on the proposals paper close on 17 September 2023.

To view the proposals paper and make a submission, visit: Have your say.

Hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 has changed the game for women’s sport in this country forever and set a new global standard. These important reforms will ensure the tournament has a lasting legacy.

Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“The Matildas have given us a moment of national inspiration, this is about seizing that opportunity for the next generation, investing in community sporting facilities for women and girls around Australia.

“Sport is a great unifier and a great teacher – it brings communities together, it teaches us about teamwork and resilience and the joy of shared success.

“We want women and girls everywhere in Australia to have the facilities and the support to choose a sport they love.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Women Katy Gallagher:

“Gender equality doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s clear something has changed in Australia, and it feels like we’re getting closer.

“You can’t be what you’d can’t see – and women and girls in this country have seen that they have a place in sport in this country. That their achievements matter, that their athleticism should be celebrated and that their nation will get behind them.

And we know that funding makes a difference, which is why we’re so pleased to announce the Play Our Way program, which will continue to drive gender equality in sport.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland:

“Every Australian deserves the chance to enjoy live and free coverage of these events, no matter where they live or what they earn.

“The Government’s preferred reforms will bring online services into the regulatory framework and broaden the range of events on the list to include more women’s sports and Para-sports.

“Broadcasting iconic sporting and cultural events helps us to create shared experiences, fosters a collective Australian identity, and contributes to grassroots community-based participation.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Sport Anika Wells:

“The Matildas have changed sport forever and our $200m Play Our Way program will help the next generation of female athletes enjoy safer sporting facilities.

"Too often women and girls are changing in men's bathrooms, wearing hand me down boys uniforms, playing with men's equipment on poor fields that boys teams wouldn’t train on.

“Play Our Way will address these issues to help women and girls enjoy sport for life."

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