Thursday 31 August, 2023

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley) (12:16): I am the lead speaker for the opposition on this particular motion. I am pleased to present to you, sir, especially yourself as a football fan, even if I might think it is the wrong team. I would like to move an amendment to the motion. I would like to support most of the motion. However, I move:

Remove paragraph (d) of the motion and insert as follows:

(d) calls on the Malinauskas Labor government to further invest in women's sporting events, infrastructure and programs;

There is no doubt that we are so proud of the Matildas for their absolutely incredible efforts at the FIFA Women's World Cup. They did tremendously well. The overwhelming majority of South Australians—and, in fact, millions and millions of Australians—tuned in to watch their games like never before. In fact, the World Cup semifinal between England and Australia brought in some say a peak viewership of around 11 million viewers, with a match average of roughly seven million. That is absolutely extraordinary. These figures mean that that match between the Matildas and England was actually the single most viewed program in Australian television history since the current recording system began.

I, too, acknowledge the efforts of the volunteers, particularly those in South Australia. What a privilege it was to be able to go to some of these games and witness the volunteers and also the staff who gave their all to help put on several fantastic games here in South Australia. Those volunteers have provided countless hours of work to make the World Cup a huge success.

I was grateful to meet the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino. I thought, 'Do I or don't I? Do I go and say hello or I do not?' Gianni Infantino: congratulations to you, sir, and thank you very much for putting your faith in Australia, in South Australia. What a privilege it was to meet him. He was highly complimentary of Coopers Stadium. That might allow me to also talk a little bit about the former Liberal government's investment in Coopers Stadium.

Our government at the time provided funding for the $53 million upgrade to Hindmarsh Stadium, Coopers Stadium, in preparation for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. It is very clear that without the upgrade to that stadium we would not have been able to host games in Adelaide. It is as simple as that, and it is something that we should be very proud of: that we, as a former government, were able to invest in these facilities, but the government before us did not. Coopers Stadium is a clear example of that.

The current government has a long way to go when it comes to infrastructure, especially in women's sport. We know that at the moment grounds are at capacity right across the state. While this might be a good start, it is certainly not enough. In life, you have summer friends and you have winter friends. During the summer, we know that everyone wants to be friends with you but what about in the winter? What I am saying is that I smell somewhat of a pattern by this government, that when things are popular, of course they want to jump on the bandwagon. Women's sport in this town needs more investment than it is getting now.

I will give you an example of that. Do you know when it was that the Matildas last played here in South Australia? Do you know when it was? It was a long time ago. We got a game here in 2019, but before that time the Matildas had not played here in a decade. They had not played here in a decade, so if this Premier and this government are serious about supporting the Matildas and supporting women's sport in this town, why does the Premier not lobby to get the Matildas here to South Australia? Right here, right now, today, what I am doing is asking the Premier to do whatever it takes to get the Matildas here in South Australia.

The Hon. N.F. Cook: No, you are rewriting history, mate.

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA: What part of that is history? In 2019—but before that they did not play here for a decade. They did not play here for a decade. It is an absolute disgrace.

The Hon. N.F. Cook: We're talking about you and your passion about female sport, mate.

The Hon. V.A.TARZIA: Love female sport, love it.

The Hon. N.F. Cook: Yes, I bet. That is why you cancelled the female change room program.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Odenwalder): Order! The minister will not interject, and the shadow minister will not respond to interjections.

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA: Thank you, sir. We know the World Cup brought together 32 magnificent different teams from across the world, the contest, as we have heard, selling around two million tickets; it is absolutely extraordinary stuff. As I said, it is important that governments of both persuasions continue to invest in women's sport, whether it be programs or facilities.

We know that many of these facilities are at capacity at the moment, and that is why I cannot understand the prerogative of this planning minister, who makes comments about things like the Magill uni campus site. Do you know what is on that site at the moment, sir? Guess what? There is a soccer pitch. Every single week in my electorate—and it is not just my electorate, there are other electorates as well—at the moment hundreds of kids play on that soccer pitch.

But do you know what this planning minister wants to talk about? He wants to talk about a master plan. He wants to talk about potential housing developments going on some of that uni land. It is all well and good to talk about fluffy motions, it is all well and good to talk about things when they are popular, but remember what I said about summer friends and winter friends. You do not just get to play elite sport. Do you know where it starts? At the junior level. This government needs to take consideration of this matter and invest in sport at the grassroots, not always when it is popular, by the way. This is what we need: we need courage from this government to actually invest in the future, invest in our junior teams and our women.

Members interjecting:

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Odenwalder): Order!

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA: We did not cut anything. What are you talking about?

Members interjecting:

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA: What are you talking about?

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Odenwalder): Order, members on my right! I am sure someone will get the chance to rebut these arguments.

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA: The record will show that if the former Liberal government did not invest in Coopers Stadium we would not have got games in Adelaide—and that is all she wrote. That is it, that is a matter of fact. I always wanted the World Cup here, and I was very grateful that we got it. What can I say? I was very grateful that we got it.

China and England, what a fantastic game that Adelaide was able to host, and with France and Morocco the town was alive. If the government is going to go after these events, I would welcome the government going after world-class events that bring vibrancy to this state. If they come up with a good idea, I will back it in 100 per cent. The town was alive like I have not seen in several years.

We even had the Moroccans here, some social media influencers from Morocco. They were very impressed to be here in South Australia. We brought them into the chamber, we showed them the beautiful tapestries that we have here and we told them about the proud progressive nature that we have had in South Australia and about our strong record on things when it comes to the women's suffragette movement here in this state. My point is that South Australia was on show to all the world—and we passed with flying colours. The city was alive. There were certainly scenes that we have not seen in several years, that is for sure.

Because the success of the Matildas has been so well received and has been so good, we know that now there is going to be extra demand when it comes to soccer in our community clubs, when it comes to soccer in our schools. There is going to be increasing demand, and that is why I plead with this government to do things smartly and make sure that they do invest in our grounds, in our infrastructure, in our programs, in grounds like the Magill university campus.

That campus cannot turn into high-rise housing. There is a soccer pitch right there at the moment. That needs to be preserved. Open space needs to be preserved, and we have to continue to invest in these facilities. We know that women's sport has got better and better, and we as an opposition will continue to support women's sport and build on our proud history wherever we can. I commend the amended motion to the house.