SPORTS minister Bridget McKenzie wants to see state government funding diverted from inner-city stadiums to community clubs and changeroom facilities for women so that the momentum from an surge in women’s sport can be retained.
Senator McKenzie was in Bendigo to support Nationals candidate Gaelle Broad who is campaigning for the seat of Bendigo East in this year’s state election.
Ms Broad said supporting community sporting participation would enhance high performance sport.
“We look at the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games and the AFL and they are amazing but they were all kids that started somewhere, they were part of a community group and the parents drove them to training and games,” she said.
“Unless we support that participation at a community level, we won’t be able to watch the high level games.”
Senator McKenzie said she was eager to see community facilities enhanced to welcome the growing numbers of women and girls playing team sports.
But she was not promising federal funding.
“I think if you were funding tens of millions of dollars to sporting stadiums in the city, you could cast your eyes a little out of the city to ‘clubland’ and community spaces where a little money goes a long way,” she said referring to the Victorian Labor government’s recent cash splash that will upgrade inner-city venues Etihad Stadium and Ikon Park.
“I am a sports scientist by trade and the tsunami of female sport, the revolution there, flooding down into clubland, to make sure our clubs are welcoming but also that we have the facilities and infrastructure that is needed so that girls aren’t changing behind towels.
“I don’t want to lose the momentum that the Matildas and AFLW and Southern Stars are giving to young women’s sports choices by them rocking up to clubland and there not being the infrastructure there.”