Good morning and thank you so much Kel and Yvonne.
Can I acknowledge my colleagues who are here this morning at the outset. And do that through my opposition counterpart Michelle Rowland. Also the Chief Government Whip Nola Marino. My crossbench counterpart Sarah Hanson-Young. Unfortunately Bridget McKenzie, the Minister for Sport can’t be with us today as she’s had to be out of Canberra. But she was very much looking forward to being part of this occasion. But I do also acknowledge the Shadow Minister for Sport, Don Farrell. And also Patrick Delaney, the CEO of Foxtel. I think this is the first time you’ve trod the Parliamentary boards in that capacity. So great to be with you.
But also, especially a big welcome to the wonderful broadcasters, but particularly the array of talented athletes that we have with us this morning.
To all of you can I just say thank you for the inspiration and the joy you give to all of us.
To the female athletes, you are role models. Not just for women and girls but you might have noticed there are some blokes in senior professional sport who could do with a role model or two at the moment. (laughs) Too soon?
But friends, can I just say how pleased I am that TV networks are increasing their commitment to the broadcasting of women’s sports. And also as we have seen, the in front of camera presentation of women hosting and broadcasting sports events. And Foxtel is absolutely at the fore of these efforts. Fox Sports has a good record in bringing female role models into the spotlight whether it be from the AFLW to the Matildas.
But there are sadly, many sports, including women’s sports that do struggle to secure consistent coverage. And that’s why I was just so pleased the Government decided in the last Budget to increase the coverage of women’s sports. And Fox Sports was the natural platform for that.
Over the next four years, the Government is going to be providing $7.5 million a year to Fox Sports to increase the coverage of underrepresented sports. This is going to help address the coverage imbalance and will enable the sporting bodies to lift participation.
Now some of the sports that will benefit from this measure are the Super W, which launched earlier this month. The AFL women’s completion. The W-League, The Women’s National Basketball League. The Women’s Rugby League Internationals. And The Women’s State of Origin.
By the end of this year, Fox Sports expects to broadcast over 1,300 hours of live coverage and around 4,000 hours in total coverage of these sports. That represents an increase of 18 per cent in live coverage and an increase overall of 11 per cent.
The measure that the government has put in place to support increased coverage of women and other underrepresented sports is unequivocally a good thing to do.
On behalf of taxpayers, governments do, from time to time, direct funds to what are good community purposes. We do that on the screen in the case of putting Screen Australia money to something like Secret City which broadcast on Foxtel. And we’re doing it in the case of women’s sports.
We want to see more of it. We are inspired. And we look forward to the offering in the year ahead.
Geraldine Mitchell | 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell [at] communications.gov.au
Guy Creighton | 0438 815 302 | Guy.Creighton [at] communications.gov.au