Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. F. Pangallo:
That this council—
1. Celebrates an unprecedented 32 nations competing in the premier women’s international sporting event;
2. Congratulates Football Australia and New Zealand Football for jointly staging and organising the tournament, including locally at Hindmarsh Stadium;
3. Encourages South Australians to get behind locally hosted games which will include teams from Brazil, Panama, China, Haiti, Korea, Morocco, and England;
4. Welcomes the many football fans coming from all parts of the world to view matches; and
5. Recognises the opportunities this world-class event will create in women’s sports participation rates and appeals to the South Australian government to provide further support to upgrade training and playing facilities for local and regional women’s football competitions.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (16:14): It is with great pleasure that I rise on behalf of the Greens to celebrate the ninth tournament of the FIFA Women's World Cup kicking off next month. I would like to start off by acknowledging the work of Football South Australia, Football Australia and the New Zealand Football Association for all their hard work in co-hosting and preparing for this year's World Cup. This will be one of several firsts for the tournament: the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere, the first to be hosted under an expanded 32-team format, and the first time hosting rights have been shared by two nations.
This is a wonderful chance to get behind women's sport and the Matildas, who are our most successful national football team. In just over 30 years, the FIFA Women's World Cup has become one of the world's largest sporting events—an estimated 1.1 billion fans watched the 2019 competition, with over 260 million watching the final live. This year has already broken records, with over one million tickets sold—the most of any women's World Cup so far.
There will be eight teams making their tournament debuts, three of which will be playing in Adelaide: Panama, Haiti and Morocco. Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium will host five matches during the tournament, including the likes of Brazil and England. Our state will also host two national team camps—Panama and China—who we look forward to welcoming and hosting at the Croatian Sports Centre in Gepps Cross and at Adelaide United's training facility in Playford.
The tournament has already prompted the renovation of Hindmarsh Stadium's facilities to better accommodate female footballers and comply with FIFA standards. I hope to see even more done to improve women's football facilities at the local, regional and state levels. South Australia has a strong footballing culture, hosting our nation's last continental footballing tournament in 2006, the AFC Women's Asian Cup, yet our state still has the lowest participation of female footballers compared with male footballers in the country, according to the latest participation report by Football Australia. This is something we need to address.
Gender equality was a major part of the Australian New Zealand bid. Both countries pledged to use the World Cup to support their goals of achieving 40 per cent female representation in football governance bodies. Hosting the Women's World Cup would certainly result in a massive celebration of women's sport in both countries. I hope to see this serve as a catalyst in helping to bolster female participation within our state and to stop holding the wooden spoon when it comes to that particular stat. The tournament will bring together people from around the globe. We know that sporting events like these are wonderful, not just for the players but for the people who get to watch. I encourage all South Australians to get involved and support our Matildas and the other players and teams in this competition.
I cannot finish without noting that Football South Australia has announced the appointment of three ambassadors: Isabel Hodgson, Bruce Djite and Natasha Stott Despoja AO. They are ambassadors for the Women's World Cup 2023 legacy plan and committee and they are charged now with undertaking that challenge to drive change for women and girls, and I look forward to great goals being scored right across the board. With that, I also thank Conrad Stott Smith for assisting me with this speech, and I hope that he has done his mother proud. I look forward to watching a few games with all of them.