Victorian taxpayers will spend $15m propping up Netball Australia, adding to the State’s $1.8b budget blowout.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced this week that his government would fill the void left by Gina Rinehart’s decision to tear up a sponsorship deal with the sport after players voiced concerns about global warming and racist comments from her now-deceased father.
The government support was confirmed just minutes before state treasurer Tim Pallas announced that a budget blowout meant the 2022-23 deficit would now be almost $10b.
Victoria’s total debt is forecast to peak at $165.4b in 2026 which is more than the debt of NSW, Queensland and Tasmania combined.
Netball Australia boss Kelly Ryan said the government had moved fast to sponsor the sport after Rinehart pulled out.
Andrews said the $15m outlay was a “major coup” for Victorians.
The Diamonds, Australia’s national team, would “showcase the nation’s sporting capital” of Melbourne with their branding on the kit where Hancock Mining had once been.
“Other states wanted this (but) Visit Victoria worked very quickly, and very well,” Andrews said.
The deal meant that players and coaches would be involved in campaigns to promote Victoria as a tourist destination.
Former Australian captain Sharni Norder told The Australian she was “stoked for the sport and the players and for Netball Australia to have a positive outcome after the last few weeks”.
She said the deal with the Andrews government was a “perfect alignment with their (Netball Australia) values”.