March 26, 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $3.3 million to support women and girls playing the world game in Darwin.

Football is the number one club participation sport in the Northern Territory, approaching close to 6000 participants.

The number of women and girls playing football or interested in taking up the sport is growing rapidly, particularly in Darwin, but many local clubs do not have the facilities to support female participation.

Labor’s investment will provide Bagot Oval, Malak Oval and Fannie Bay Oval with new, dedicated female change rooms, baby change tables, male and referee change rooms, disability accessible toilets, and office space.

New canteen and storage facilities will also be built at Malak and Fannie Bay ovals, with Fannie Bay Oval to also receive new public toilets and Bagot Oval’s existing canteen and storage facilities to be upgraded.

These significant upgrades will support women, girls, men and boys in Darwin to play football and enjoy the many health and social benefits of participating in sport.

Luke Gosling, Member for Solomon said Labor was committed to supporting communities to provide better sporting opportunities for all local residents.

“This is great news for Territorians and will support the strong growth of female participation in the world game,” Mr Gosling said.

“We want sport to be accessible to all Top Enders, at all levels and I am proud to support this timely investment.”

Shadow Minister for Sport Senator Don Farrell said Labor’s investments in local community sport facilities were about giving all Australians a chance to enjoy the benefits of sport.

“Labor is committed to supporting clubs and communities to improve grassroots sport facilities and give all Australians a fair go at sport, whether they dream of one day representing Australia as the next star Matilda or Socceroo, or they just want to enjoy the benefits of being physically active,” he said.

“Our investments in local community sporting clubs and facilities like these help them build capacity to meet the welcome growth in female participation in club sport and support more Australians to live active, healthy lifestyles.” 

Senator McCarthy said investments like this will see more women and girls playing football.

“This funding will actively encourage more women and girls to play football. Young women across the NT are now being inspired by their idols, who play sports that were previously seen as men-only. We want all women to know they are welcome and supported to play sport and this is another step towards that,” she said.

“Investments like this will see more players like Shadeene Evans from Borroloola, who is touted as a possible Matilda of the future,” Senator McCarthy said.

Football Federation NT CEO Bruce Stalder welcomed the announcement as a fantastic outcome for the hundreds of women and girls who dedicate themselves to the game.

“The new change rooms and clubhouses will be a most welcome addition for Darwin’s Football Family, and something both the clubs and their women players have been seeking for many years. Football is all about inclusion and equity and we deeply believe that the more women and girls who play our game and indeed sport in general the better our communities will be.”