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Netballers ready to fight for pay

Australia's world champion netballers are ''up for a fight'' and ready to take industrial action in a pay dispute with Netball Australia.

The move potentially could put in doubt Australia's clash with New Zealand in Canberra in October.

The players' union is to meet Netball Australia on Friday in the latest bid to negotiate a new deal.

The Diamonds have taken the dispute to Fair Work Australia through the Australian Workers Union, with players asking for an increase from $200 to $400 a day while on national team duty.

On average, players spend 50 contact days with the Australian team a year, earning them an income of about $10,000, the union says. The increase would see that doubled to $20,000.

Netball Australia says it has offered players a 20 per cent pay increase, but the union says players won't accept that.


Australian Netball Players Association director John-Paul Blandthorn says the Diamonds are prepared to use industrial action if need be.

''The players are up for a fight,'' Blandthorn said.

''They're just sick and tired of it.

''It's not as if we're talking about the bottom 60 players in Australia. We're talking about the top 10.

''In any other sport - horse racing, AFL, cricket - all the top 10 athletes tend to earn OK money.''

Blandthorn said netballers who played for both the national team and in the trans-Tasman league earn about $35,000 a year from netball.

But Netball Australia chief executive Kate Palmer said seven of the current Diamonds earned more than $100,000 from netball and related activities, with four of them earning more than $150,000.

''We work very hard at making sure that, where possible, they can earn more income,'' Palmer said.

''If I was given an increase of 20 per cent I would be pretty excited.''

Blandthorn said following Friday's meeting, where he expects little to be resolved, the association could lodge a protected action ballot that would list several types of industrial action the club could take.

Actions considered include players refusing to play in the national team, refusing to allow their image to be used in advertising by Netball Australia and refusing to answer any emails from Netball Australia's domain name.

Blandthorn is confident the players are 100 per cent committed.

If the Diamonds decide to strike, the move could affect other national teams including New Zealand, with Australia set to travel there later this year. AAP