Federal Politics

Sporting codes to lose funding unless they provide females with same flights, accommodation as men

Major sporting organisations could lose millions of dollars in federal government funding if they fail to provide the same travel and accommodation standards to women as they do to men.

Sports Minister Sussan Ley has warned the nation's 30 top-funded sports organisations they could lose Australian Sports Commission investment unless they enforce gender-neutral travel policies.

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Sporting codes to provide equal travel standards

Sports Minister Sussan Ley warns the nation's 30 top-funded sports organisations they could lose Australian Sports Commission investment unless they enforce gender-neutral travel policies. (Vision courtesy ABC News 24)

"In 2016 we can think of no defensible reason why male and female athletes should travel in different classes or stay in different standard accommodation when attending major international sporting events such as world cups or championships," Ms Ley said.

The different treatment was highlighted at the 2012 London Olympics when Basketball Australia was criticised for flying its male team in business class but its female team in economy.

Basketball Australia came under fire for flying Australia's female team to the London Olympics in economy class even ...
Basketball Australia came under fire for flying Australia's female team to the London Olympics in economy class even though the male team flew business. Photo: Christian Petersen

"Quite frankly I was shocked and surprised to find that in every sport it isn't always the case that the guys and the girls fly and are accommodated at the same level of travel," Ms Ley told the ABC.

"I am prepared to tie the funding to compliance with this but I don't expect it to come to an argument — I know it won't, in fact."

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Ms Ley said while there could be some complexities in travel arrangements - especially in relation to sponsored travel - she was serious about gender-equity and cultural change in sport.

"The Turnbull government and the ASC are committed to the fair recognition and reward of elite female athletes and to the promotion of female participation in all levels and forms of Australian sport," Ms Ley said.

"This is another important step towards fair and equitable recognition and reward for female athletes in this country."

Health Minister Sussan Ley says sporting organisations could lose government funding if they fail to provide ...
Health Minister Sussan Ley says sporting organisations could lose government funding if they fail to provide gender-neutral travel arrangements.  Photo: Andrew Meares

The ASC is providing about $130 million in funding to sports organisations this financial year.

Women's sport still captures less than 10 per cent of commercial sponsorship despite recent championship wins such as the Diamonds taking out the Netball World Cup, the Southern Stars claiming the Ashes and Michelle Payne's Melbourne Cup victory.

Ms Ley said the government has been encouraged by the rising influence of female administrators on sporting boards but is calling for more progress to be made there too.

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