Albanese pledges $200m to women’s sport after successful World Cup

Noah Strang
By:
Noah Strang
24/08/2023
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Albanese pledges $200m to women’s sport after successful World Cup

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has committed $200m to women’s sports following the success of the Women’s World Cup in Australia. 

News Insights

  • Albanese pledges $200m to women’s sport
  • Women’s World Cup “changed sport in Australia forever"
  • Grant applications to open in 2024
  • Providing safer facilities is a vital concern

The Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand may be over, but Australia is still keeping women’s sport in the spotlight. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government has announced a new program committing $200m to women’s sport. The biggest concern of this new project is improving women’s sport infrastructure. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government announced this week plans to invest $200m in women’s sport over the coming years. The new project is called the Play Our Way program. It will fund the development of women’s sport through the doling out of grants. 

"The Play Our Way program is scheduled to officially start accepting grant applications in early 2024. Grants will primarily be given “to improve sporting facilities and equipment.”

Women’s World Cup sparks investment

The impetus for Anthony Albanese to commit $200m to women’s sport is the Women’s World Cup. Albanese is quoted in his government’s statement on the matter as saying, “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.”

As we all know, just because a politician says something, doesn’t make it true. Thankfully, in this case, it is very true. The Matildas have received unprecedented support within Australia over the course of this summer’s tournament. 

The Australia Women’s semifinal match against England was the most-watched TV program in Australian history. The match in Sydney reached an estimated 11.15 million Aussies nationally. 7.13 million of these fanatics watched the game on the free-to-air Channel 7. 

Attention was also prevalent outside of Australia. According to the major international sports betting sites, bets on the Matilda’s grew 200% as the tournament went on. 

All this excitement is just the beginning, however. Minister for Sport Anika Wells said of the Matildas and the new Play Our Way program that “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…Play Our Way will address these issues to help women and girls enjoy sport for life."

Play Our Way to support “grassroots initiatives”

As was hinted at above in the quote from Minister for Sport Anika Wells, improving women’s sport facilities is a major concern of the Albanese government. In addition to the quote above, Wells specifically crticized the current state of women’s sport in Australia. 

"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,” said Wells. 

Prime Minister Albanese echoed his minister’s sentiment by saying, “We want women and girls everywhere in Australia to have the facilities and the support to choose a sport they love.

Right now, according to the Australian government study, soccer is the highest participation sport in Australia, so soccer facilities will be given “significant resourcing” from the new Play Our Way program. Other women’s sports’ facilities will also be improved under this program.

Anti-siphoning scheme still in development

The Play Our Way grant program will not take applications until early 2024. In the meantime, sporting advocates in the Australian government will continue to work on bringing Aussies free-to-air sports. 

An ongoing review of the government’s 2022 anti-siphoning scheme, has shown 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.” 

To address these needs, the government has released three proposals. Each one is aimed at modifying the current anti-siphoning scheme. Feedback on the proposals will play a major role on which one is ultimately adopted by parliament. Public feedback submissions will be open until 17 September 2023. 

Australia’s $200m commitment to women’s sport is something virtually unheard of. If it is successful, another strong Matilda’s performance at the next Women’s World Cup should be expected. However, grant applications are not being accepted until 2024, so success may have to wait.