Soccer - Funding Inequity/Fair Go for Soccer
Ms ARMITAGE TO MINISTER FOR SPORT AND RECREATION, Ms HOWLETT
One of the fastest growing sports in my electorate is soccer, and Sport Australia's AusPlay participation figures indicate that soccer receives less government funding per participant than any other sport. Will the minister please advise -
(1) What steps are being implemented to address this inequity so that anyone who wants to play soccer can play, to ensure the facilities are adequate and to ensure that our association of football organisations are resourced enough to manage and support the growth of this sport in Tasmania?
(2) With the Women's World Cup set to be hosted in Australia and New Zealand in 2023, can you confirm that UTAS Stadium in Launceston will be upgraded so that it can be reconfigured as a rectangular stadium?
(3) Can the minister please confirm when work on the reconfiguration of UTAS stadium will begin?
(4) Can the minister please advise what feedback has been sought from Tasmanian football association organisations to ensure our state will be adequately prepared to take advantage of the opportunities the third biggest sporting event being hosted in Australia will bring?
I thank the member for Launceston for her question and her interest in this. It is very exciting news for northern Tasmania.
(1) to (4)
I am aware of ongoing calls by Football Tasmania for a fairer level of state government funding as part of its revised 2020-21 state budget submission.
This budget submission from Football Federation Tasmania will be considered as part of the normal budget process. In addition, I am also aware of FT's online petition calling for a fair go for football.
The Government is a strong supporter of soccer in Tasmania and provided $1.2 million in funding across four years to Football Federation Tasmania in the 2017-18 budget. That is in addition to our ongoing funding commitment of $50 000 per year. This significant investment will support grassroots football development and the men's and women's talent support programs.
Football Tasmania also received the maximum $150 000 in funding, which assisted with the salary costs for 15 of its staff through our nation's leading COVID-19 Sport and Recreation Grants Program tranche 1, which we initiated to sustain grassroots sport in Tasmania through the pandemic.
The Tasmanian Government also committed more than $700 000 in 2018 to a number of soccer clubs across Tasmania to improve and upgrade their facilities and equipment to attract younger players and retain players. Soccer clubs were highly represented across the state in the Levelling the Playing Field Grants Program and many Tasmanian children accessed the Government's Ticket to Play vouchers to join soccer clubs across the state.
The methodology used by Football Federation Tasmania to compare the funding of sporting codes to others - namely, AFL and cricket - does not compare apples with apples. The inclusion by Football Tasmania of national elite-level competitions such as AFL and cricket in comparison with the level of grassroots sporting funding of others such as soccer does not bear scrutiny. The fact is that Tasmania is not represented at the national level in soccer, either in the men's or women's competitions, a situation that we hope we can rectify.
The Government supports any opportunities to enter the A-League or the W‑League. In terms of the World Cup, the Tasmanian Government was pleased to be involved in and contribute to Football Federation Australia's winning joint bid with New Zealand to co-host the FIFA World Cup in 2023. This announcement is great news for football fans in Australia and presents some excellent opportunities for Tasmanian fans to enjoy world-class football stars here in our state.
Importantly, Tasmania's involvement will also encourage more Tasmanian women and girls to participate in sport, which is critical to our commitment to make Tasmania the healthiest population by 2025. The Tasmanian Government's agreement with FIFA will provide an investment of $1 million should we secure the three group stage matches and the option of two base camp training venues. I understand Events Tasmania is continuing to work with Football Federation Australia to develop a host city transport and mobility plan and a communication plan to outline the Tasmanian Government's support for FWWC content in Tasmania.
Confirmation of the final host cities and venues is expected to be announced between December 2020 and June 2021. As work continues to progress. I look forward to continuing to work with Football Tasmania and the relevant parties in ensuring we are adequately prepared should we be successful in securing Tasmania as a venue. I hope we are.
Work and discussions are ongoing regarding UTAS Stadium to see if it can be used. It has been used in the past for A-League games. That is something we are working on.
Ms Armitage - Do you know when we will have an answer to it, minister?
Ms HOWLETT - We are currently having discussions.
Ms Armitage - Do we have a time frame, though?
Ms HOWLETT - I will let you know as soon as I know.
Ms Armitage - Could I ask again tomorrow? Perhaps you might check if I asked a similar question tomorrow with regard to time frames for UTAS Stadium?
Ms HOWLETT - I can certainly see. It would require me to get answers back from a few different organisations, including the council.
Mr PRESIDENT - In due course.
Ms HOWLETT - Yes, in due course.
Ms Armitage - How long is a piece of string?
Ms HOWLETT - It is important and it is exciting news for Tasmania.
Ms Armitage - Football Tasmania is very keen to know what is happening.
Ms HOWLETT - It is. I am having ongoing meetings with Bob Gordon and Football Tasmania. We will do everything we can to ensure that this does occur.