ACT govt change-room overhaul scraps urinals to make female friendly

ACT govt change-room overhaul scraps urinals to make female friendly

The ACT government will retrofit sporting change rooms and get rid of urinals, including at Canberra Stadium, as part of an initiative to make all grounds more female friendly.

The government has also started a process to safeguard spectators at Canberra Stadium, calling for tenders from private contractors to install "intrusion" barriers as an anti-terrorism measure.

The Brumbies women's team plays their Super W matches at Canberra Stadium.

The Brumbies women's team plays their Super W matches at Canberra Stadium.Credit:Stuart Walmsley/

The structures would be placed at the stadium's east and west gates, alongside the existing barriers.

Tender documents, released last month, showed the barriers would need to able to withstand the force of a 7.4 tonne vehicle travelling at a minimum of 64 kilometres per hour.


It is part of the government's commitment to ongoing upgrades at Canberra Stadium to ensure it maintains industry standards while Sport Australia continues to weigh up an option to sell the venue.

The government spends $350,000 per year to lease the stadium for sports, concerts and events as well as paying to maintain and upgrade the ageing venue.

Part of the upgrades will include improving the change rooms to accommodate more female athletes, with work already started to change the layout and design of the inner sanctum.

The government has also opened a grant process for female-friendly sports infrastructure after it was revealed some of Canberra's women's teams were being forced to get changed on the sideline instead of in rooms.


The changes at Canberra Stadium will likely include a privacy screen at the entry to the change rooms, more toilet cubicles instead of urinals and lockable showers.

The government has spoken to the Canberra Raiders, ACT Brumbies and Canberra United about the looming changes, but the designs are yet to be finalised.

"Works are currently being planned to upgrade the player and match official change rooms in line with the ACT government's female-friendly guidelines," a government spokeswoman said.

"These guidelines form another part of an election commitment to increase women's participation in sport.


"In the 2018-19 budget, the ACT government committed to improve the match-day experience at [Canberra] Stadium for players and the community through a range of upgrade works."

Any new community sports grounds in Canberra will have female-friendly designs for their change room facilities and refitting older venues will be done on a case-by-case basis.

"Grants for female friendly sports infrastructure through the annual sport and recreation grants program forms part of an election commitment to implement a range of plans to increase women’s participation in sport," the spokeswoman said.

"All privately owned sporting clubs and associations are encouraged to apply for grants ... Within the [grants program] is the Capital Assistance Program, which has a focus on facility and infrastructure improvements.

"This includes upgrading sport pavilions to be more female friendly at government and non-government facilities."

    Canberra has the highest female participation rates in sport in Australia according to the latest AusPlay data. An estimated 79.5 per cent of females aged over 15 are involved in sport two times per week.

    The government has already spent $23,000 to upgrade the Tuggeranong netball toilet facilities, $8500 to build a female change room at Hawker and $40,000 for upgrades at Deakin.

    Chris Dutton is the sports editor at The Canberra Times.

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