1st May 2024 10:04am
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Minister Dimopoulos. In August last year I stood in this place and reflected on the Matildas fever that was sweeping Australia. Since this time the tidal wave of love for our national women’s soccer team has only grown. The Matildas recently sealed their Olympic Games qualification in Melbourne in a thrilling match against Uzbekistan. The 50,000 tickets for this event were all snapped up within 24 hours, the 12th consecutive home match that the Matildas have sold out. In the minister’s response to the last time I mentioned the Matildas in this place, they noted the Victorian government’s flagship investment, the new home of the Matildas at Latrobe University Sports Park in Bundoora. This was a $52.79 million investment designed to transform women’s football in Victoria, helping to grow future female football superstars.

Publicly the minister has spoken about the importance of bringing the Matildas to Melbourne so the team can contribute to and inspire young players, delight fans and bring thousands of visitors to our city, so you can imagine how perplexed I was when the news broke that Victoria did not bid to host any Matildas matches for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup. Apparently we were all booked up and there was no room for negotiations with any of the potential scheduling conflicts.

Supporting the Matildas does not mean just showing up when there is a great photo opportunity. What a lost opportunity for fans, the next generation of players, our state’s economy and Matildas-specific infrastructure that this government spent tens of millions of dollars building. The action I seek is that the minister reconsider their decision not to bid for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup, or if not possible, commit to properly advocating for Victoria to host future Matildas games.

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