Prime Minister joins with Rugby Australia in commitment to women's Rugby

Fri, Feb 10, 2023, 11:20 PM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia

The Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Anthony Albanese MP has today endorsed Rugby Australia’s push towards making elite Women’s XVs Rugby fully professional.

As Australian Women’s XVs Rugby heads toward a professional future, the sport’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement – recently signed by Rugby Australia (RA), the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) and Super Rugby Clubs – outlines the first step of a planned staged increase in investment over the next five years.

Rugby Australia’s investment in women’s Rugby has increased by more than 60 per cent for the 2023 season, with over $2 million of additional funding injected into the game. Some of the key points include:

Buildcorp Wallaroos

  • For the first time, Australia’s Women’s XVs Rugby team, the Wallaroos, will receive central part-time contracts with Rugby Australia.
  • A list of up to 35 players will be contracted across three tiers, with the potential to earn between $30,000 and $52,000 in RA payments for Wallaroos and Super W participation combined in 2023.
  • A parenting and pregnancy guideline has been agreed in principle – contracted Wallaroos players will still receive their full contract amount for the year while on maternity leave.

Buildcorp Super W

  • All Buildcorp Super W players will receive an RA-funded minimum payment of $4,000 in addition to club payments for the five-rounds-plus-Finals Super W season.
  • The additional funding from RA will also cover new investment into the High-Performance programs at Super W clubs to enhance the coaching, strength and conditioning, medical and performance environments.
  • There will be additional provisions for meals at training sessions and a contribution toward childcare for players with children up to age 12.
  • RA’s minimum payment is intended to be additional to club payments – Super W clubs may contribute payments over and above the minimum RA payments.

Rugby Australia’s Sevens program – where the fully professional women’s squad is on pay parity with their male counterparts – forms the benchmark for the governing body to emulate; as a professional program for the last ten years, and having achieved Olympic and Commonwealth Gold Medals, Rugby World Cup and World Series titles.

Australian Rugby sits on the precipice of a Golden Decade, set to host the British and Irish Lions Tour in 2025, the Commonwealth Games in 2026 (featuring Rugby Sevens), the men’s Rugby World Cup in 2027, the women’s Rugby World Cup in 2029 and the Olympic Games (featuring Rugby Sevens) in 2032.

In addition, with this year’s Rugby World Cup for men in France, the Olympic Games in Paris next year, and the women’s Rugby World Cup in England in 2025, Australian Rugby has an opportunity to transform the sports landscape in Australia and create an enduring legacy for the game – with the women’s game at the heart of this transformation. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“I want to congratulate Rugby Australia and all the players and trailblazers who negotiated, organised, sacrificed and worked together to progress the professionalisation of the women’s game.

“As the superstars of our Rugby Sevens have shown - the fastest and best way to grow the game is to inspire the next generation of women and girls to take part.

“Making sure current and future female superstars are paid a wage will play a huge part in that.”

Rugby Australia Chair Hamish McLennan:

“Australia hosting the women’s Rugby World Cup in 2029 presents us with a great target for women’s Rugby – we want the Wallaroos to win our home World Cup, with a fully professional squad of heroes inspiring the next generation.

“We saw this team’s amazing tenacity, determination, and fighting spirit as they reached the Quarter-Finals at last year’s Rugby World Cup – this was a performance that will lay the foundation for the future of the Wallaroos.

“Rugby Australia has committed additional funding into women’s Rugby this year and is pushing hard for further investment and corporate support – and we are delighted to have the best Rugby coach in the world in Eddie Jones providing input into the Wallaroos in his role as an Adviser.

“It is just the beginning, but the future for women’s Rugby in Australia looks very bright.”

Minister for Sport Anika Wells:

“This is a landmark step for Australian Rugby, and the first of many on the path to greater professionalism for female Rugby players.

“Rugby Australia’s investment in women will reap major benefits on and off field as the code enters a Golden Decade, including the 2029 women’s Rugby World Cup which will be in Australia for the first time.

“This is truly an exciting moment for Rugby fans and participants, knowing the code backs their female players and is committed to supporting their dreams.”

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos:

“We have seen the success of our women’s Rugby Sevens program after ten years of investment by Rugby Australia, the Federal Government through the AIS, and numerous corporate supporters – it is perhaps the benchmark high performance program for women in the country.

“In addition to the team’s many successes, the program has also given us heroes like Charlotte Caslick, Maddison Levi and Sharni Williams, who have inspired girls all around the country to the point that participation levels in girls’ Sevens teams are growing strongly year-on-year.

“As we all know, you can’t be what you can’t see – we want our next heroes for the girls of Australia to be Wallaroos’ rising stars like Piper Duck, Grace Kemp and Eva Karpani.

“With this new investment, the new provisions included in the CBA for the first time, and additional funds in the pipeline – we have a clear vision for the future of the game.

“This is just the beginning – we still have a lot of work to do, but this is far and away the largest investment that we have ever made into women’s Rugby. We are determined to continue the growth in coming years to ensure that our goals become a reality.

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