Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 28, 2023


Women's World Cup

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. F. Pangallo:

That this council—

1. Celebrates an unprecedented 32 nations competing in the premier women’s international sporting event;

2. Congratulates Football Australia and New Zealand Football for jointly staging and organising the tournament, including locally at Hindmarsh Stadium;

3. Encourages South Australians to get behind locally hosted games which will include teams from Brazil, Panama, China, Haiti, Korea, Morocco, and England;

4. Welcomes the many football fans coming from all parts of the world to view matches; and

5. Recognises the opportunities this world-class event will create in women’s sports participation rates and appeals to the South Australian government to provide further support to upgrade training and playing facilities for local and regional women’s football competitions.

(Continued from 31 May 2023.)

The Hon. E.S. BOURKE (16:06): I rise to speak on behalf of the government in regard to this motion put forward by the Hon. Frank Pangallo and I thank him for bringing this to our chamber. Our entire community is so excited that this year Adelaide will host four group games and a round of 16 match as part of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023.

Teams confirmed to play in Adelaide include Panama, England, Brazil, China PR, Korea Republic and Morocco. Adelaide's hosting of the Women's World Cup matches provide our government, together with Football SA, with a significant opportunity to provide a lasting legacy, to grow the game and to encourage young women and young men to pursue playing football, including at the highest level.

Across the entire event, it is expected to draw a record attendance of 1.5 million spectators, plus an anticipated worldwide viewership of one billion spectators. When we see women and girls being celebrated for being strong, skilful and physical, perceptions about the role of women and our girls will change through this event. As part of the World Cup legacy, the state government has committed $1 million over two years to grow participation in football, develop women's leadership, and deliver programs aimed at preventing violence against women and children.

A portion of the funding is earmarked for the rollout of a public awareness campaign targeting the prevention of violence against women and children, alongside a complementary education program to be run in clubs within the state. The state government is partnering with Football South Australia, tasking the state's peak football body with leading the delivery of football participation programs.

The Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing is also hosting a women's leadership symposium to be held during the World Cup. The symposium 'The power of her' will be held on Tuesday 8 August 2023 at Adelaide Oval, coinciding with the FIFA round of 16 match that evening. The event is an inclusive symposium focused on empowering women and driving change for gender equality and representation. Bestselling writer, director, body image campaigner and 2023 Australian of the Year, Ms Brumfitt, who was here yesterday, is the first of many amazing speakers to be announced who will feature at the symposium.

Our government has also provided support to see a legacy of sporting infrastructure in South Australia fit for local use following the FIFA Women's World Cup. This includes $350,000 to develop appropriate change room facilities at the Marden Sports Complex, and upgrades at the Steve Woodcock Sports Centre in Newton and at the Croatian Sports Centre in Gepps Cross. The funding complements a state government investment of $26 million into the completed ServiceFM Stadium and more than $50 million at Coopers Stadium in Hindmarsh where the international teams will take centre stage. Our government is committed to celebrating women in sport and ensuring girls and women can equally and actively participate in the sport they love in the way that they choose.

In addition to our commitment to the legacy of the World Cup, our government has also proudly re-established the Women in Sport Taskforce to advise government on issues preventing women and girls participating fully in their sporting passions, and we have linked funding to state sporting organisations to the diversity of their decision-making bodies.

I wish the Matildas well in their fight for the 2023 World Cup, and cannot wait to see the lasting legacy that hosting this incredible competition will have. I again thank the Hon. Frank Pangallo for bringing this motion to the chamber. I move to amend the motion as follows:

Leave out paragraph 5 and insert new paragraph as follows:

5. Recognises the opportunities this world-class event will create in women's sports participation rates and acknowledges the South Australian government's commitment to supporting the legacy of this event through participation, infrastructure and gender equality initiatives and funding.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (16:10): When it was announced that Australia and New Zealand would co-host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, the former Liberal government hosted the FIFA delegation on a tour of Hindmarsh Stadium in a bid to secure the arena as a potential venue for the Women's World Cup. The tour made the right impression, as it was announced shortly thereafter that Adelaide would play host to a number of matches as part of the 2023 FIFA event: five, in fact, in total.

The matches were made possible by the former Liberal state government's $53 million upgrade to the facilities at the stadium. This included the construction of new change rooms. There is no doubt that the $53 million investment was crucial in securing South Australia's participation. This upgrade has been important in more ways than one. The upgrade has improved facilities for the facilitation of the national women's A-League, meaning the investment continues to bring benefits locally.

The opposition is proud of our ongoing commitment to sporting clubs and facilities at the elite level, but also—no less importantly, and some could argue more importantly—at the community grassroots level. We understand that sport is essential to community and it is essential to culture. We are proud of our record of actively supporting the rapidly growing number of girls and women participating in local soccer.

The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup will showcase inspirational talent, and we hope it inspires many young female South Australian athletes. We have a solid record for producing excellent soccer players in South Australia. I would like to spend a moment to make special mention of a retired Matilda, Dianne Alagich. Di Alagich is from a prolific soccer family in Adelaide. Her brother Richie played for the Socceroos and Adelaide United, and her nephew now continues in that fashion.

Di grew up in Semaphore and represented Australia in multiple editions of the FIFA Women's World Cup. She played in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 tournaments, contributing to the team's progress in each competition. She also participated in several AFC Women's Asian Cup tournaments with the Australian national team. She represented Australia some 86 times as a Matilda. She played a crucial role in helping Australia win the championship in 2010, which was the country's first ever Asian Cup triumph. Athletes such as Dianne Alagich created a legacy which allows today's female athletes to believe anything is possible. It is my hope that the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup inspires the Di Alagiches of the future to represent Australia and especially South Australia on that world stage.

I would also like to take this opportunity to echo the words of the Hon. Frank Pangallo in welcoming the many football fans coming from all parts of the world to view the matches. I do hope and am sure that a good majority of these visitors will head out to South Australia's beautiful regions, and that they spend time and funds within these local economies—between matches, of course. We support the call by the honourable member to encourage the Malinauskas government to further support women's and girls' participation in sports, and I look forward to watching Hindmarsh Stadium come alive.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (16:14): It is with great pleasure that I rise on behalf of the Greens to celebrate the ninth tournament of the FIFA Women's World Cup kicking off next month. I would like to start off by acknowledging the work of Football South Australia, Football Australia and the New Zealand Football Association for all their hard work in co-hosting and preparing for this year's World Cup. This will be one of several firsts for the tournament: the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere, the first to be hosted under an expanded 32-team format, and the first time hosting rights have been shared by two nations.

This is a wonderful chance to get behind women's sport and the Matildas, who are our most successful national football team. In just over 30 years, the FIFA Women's World Cup has become one of the world's largest sporting events—an estimated 1.1 billion fans watched the 2019 competition, with over 260 million watching the final live. This year has already broken records, with over one million tickets sold—the most of any women's World Cup so far.

There will be eight teams making their tournament debuts, three of which will be playing in Adelaide: Panama, Haiti and Morocco. Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium will host five matches during the tournament, including the likes of Brazil and England. Our state will also host two national team camps—Panama and China—who we look forward to welcoming and hosting at the Croatian Sports Centre in Gepps Cross and at Adelaide United's training facility in Playford.

The tournament has already prompted the renovation of Hindmarsh Stadium's facilities to better accommodate female footballers and comply with FIFA standards. I hope to see even more done to improve women's football facilities at the local, regional and state levels. South Australia has a strong footballing culture, hosting our nation's last continental footballing tournament in 2006, the AFC Women's Asian Cup, yet our state still has the lowest participation of female footballers compared with male footballers in the country, according to the latest participation report by Football Australia. This is something we need to address.

Gender equality was a major part of the Australian New Zealand bid. Both countries pledged to use the World Cup to support their goals of achieving 40 per cent female representation in football governance bodies. Hosting the Women's World Cup would certainly result in a massive celebration of women's sport in both countries. I hope to see this serve as a catalyst in helping to bolster female participation within our state and to stop holding the wooden spoon when it comes to that particular stat. The tournament will bring together people from around the globe. We know that sporting events like these are wonderful, not just for the players but for the people who get to watch. I encourage all South Australians to get involved and support our Matildas and the other players and teams in this competition.

I cannot finish without noting that Football South Australia has announced the appointment of three ambassadors: Isabel Hodgson, Bruce Djite and Natasha Stott Despoja AO. They are ambassadors for the Women's World Cup 2023 legacy plan and committee and they are charged now with undertaking that challenge to drive change for women and girls, and I look forward to great goals being scored right across the board. With that, I also thank Conrad Stott Smith for assisting me with this speech, and I hope that he has done his mother proud. I look forward to watching a few games with all of them.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. R.P. Wortley.