Adjournment speech in Parliament- Lidia Thorpe: My adjournment matter today is for the Minister for Sport. The action I seek is for the minister to commit, in the forthcoming budget, the required $25 million to build the desperately needed sports stadium in Northcote for girls.
For a number of years now Northcote community sporting facilities have failed to meet the needs of the community. One key example of this is that for years girls and women have been forced to travel outside the area to play netball as there are very few facilities in the area. This significantly increased the barriers to girls’ involvement in the game and resulted in Darebin having participation rates less than one-third of the state average according to a 2014 Netball Victoria report.
While the government has made some commitments to build more netball courts, the most important investment required to enhance women’s participation, particularly in the evenings and over winter, is the proposal for the new multisports stadium at John Cain Memorial Park in Thornbury.
I want to acknowledge the excellent work of Darebin local councillors who have brought the issue to the Victorian government’s attention. In 2014 the Darebin council conducted a feasibility study and in 2015 announced plans for a multisports stadium at John Cain Memorial Park. The stadium master plan was released in November last year, revealing the precinct will house six netball courts, a function room and dedicated changing rooms for girls. The stadium would benefit 5000 women and girls as part of the Let Them Play campaign — an incredible achievement.
We know women still fall dramatically behind men when it comes to access to appropriate sporting facilities. It is astonishing to think that in this day and age girls have to change in cars as there are no women’s changing rooms, and yet that is the situation in Northcote. This stadium will fix this situation and will be an important step in bringing greater equity to community sports.
I understand that the council has set aside $6.5 million for the development of this stadium. Further, in light of the tragic death of our respected colleague and her fantastic work in championing women’s causes, we call on you to name the new sports stadium the Fiona Richardson Stadium, in her honour.