Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, I would like to talk to you about women's cricket. As you know, in 2018 the Government made an election commitment to contribute towards Cricket Tasmania to lift the women's league game in significant part. The money arrived in the 2019 20 State Budget but as you will recall, not too long after that, Cricket Tasmania cut the Women's Premier League Competition and that feeds into the State League. The question to you is: how are you going to make sure we are skilling up the next crop of top-flight female cricket players. Do you agree with former Australian Women's Cricket Captain, Belinda Clark, who said -
If we don't invest in the women's sport now, it will fail because we're not investing in the next generation of great cricket players?
Ms HOWLETT - I thank the member for her question.
Ms LANGENBERG - Cricket Tasmania has reaffirmed its commitment to women's cricket and to growing the game for women and girls in Tasmania. They've invested heavily in a women's coach for their Tasmanian team and also for the WBBL team and have extended that to other areas of the state to try to grow the game for women and girls in the north and north-west to provide pathways for those players as well as players in the south.
The funding is continuing to Cricket Tasmania, and their strategic plan and all of their underpinning documents demonstrate their commitment to growing the women's and girls' game.
Ms HOWLETT - Can I add to that, Helen?
With the partnership with the Hydro, they are doing a major blitz around rural and regional areas right around the state, and we'll see them visiting schools in every region in 2020-21. Cricket is very exciting. It's my daughter's first season this year - she's up to game four.
Ms O'CONNOR - Very good. Thank you for those answers and I take on board particularly what Ms Langenberg said about the commitment of Cricket Tasmania to foster women's sport. Isn't it the case that endeavour is largely about investing in the existing state team when part of the work of Cricket Tasmania in order to grow women in the sport, for want of a better word - I hate that, but in order to encourage more women into cricket, you need to go out into community sporting clubs and into rural and regional areas to make sure you're picking up that talent?
I am interested in your thoughts on how you can make sure government and women and girls get the best bang for their buck by making sure we're investing in the talent, wherever it might be.
Ms HOWLETT - That's where those clinics and school clinics come in - they are so important - and why with the partnership with the Hydro, we will see that blitz. I am most excited it's in rural and regional areas as well throughout Tasmania. One thing before you add to it, Helen, we've had to make sure we did improve facilities throughout Tasmania. A lot of these changerooms are terrible for women and girls
Ms O'BYRNE - In South Hobart, they change in a Portaloo.
Ms HOWLETT - Without improving the …
Ms HOWLETT - I guess without improving the playing field, levelling the playing field and improving amenities throughout the state, well, we know that will encourage more females to participate in sport.
Ms O'CONNOR - I am sure you would agree it will not happen organically necessarily and it will require entities like Cricket Tasmania to invest time and resources into those communities at those facilities. I wonder if it is in the funding agreement between Cricket Tasmania and the state Government that there is the strongest possible emphasis on women in cricket?
Ms HOWLETT - I will certainly have to have a look at that. I know that is through Events Tasmania, but we can see how football and soccer have increased the number of female participants at a young level, and I am sure cricket will put that same emphasis on increasing their female participation.
Ms O'CONNOR - Is it part of the funding agreement? Do you know, Ms Langenberg?
Ms LANGENBERG - The funding agreement with Cricket Tasmania is effectively made up of three components at the moment. In effect the icons' funding - which is funding for the Tasmania Tigers and the Hurricanes, both men and women - and then there is a funding component around the WBBL/BBL games in the north and north-west, but north this year given the restrictions we have. The third component is around the development of grassroots cricket and growing the game on just those sorts of pathways you have referred to. The emphasis within that is equally on men's and women's, but as I explained earlier, Cricket Tasmania - in order to be competitive with other sports which have seen the growth in women's and girls' participation basically drive their growth in participation - is investing heavily in developing young women and girl players around the state.