Coolangatta footy change rooms to benefit GC sportswomen

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon

Coolangatta footy change rooms to benefit GC sportswomen

• New change rooms officially opened at Tweed Coolangatta Junior AFC

• The rooms will be used by 200 female AFL players and officials every week

• The club has produced 19 AFLW players since 2016

Thousands of women and girls are set to benefit each year from new $828,000 female change rooms that have been officially opened at Len Peak Oval for Tweed Coolangatta Junior Australian Football Club (AFC).

The new building includes an amenities block, change rooms with showers, official's rooms, coaches rooms and storage.

The change rooms will be used by 200 female AFL players and officials at the club every week as well as more than 6,400 casual users each year from the wider community including participants in the Coolangatta Centre of Sports Excellence Program, Life Changer Foundation and NDIS providers.

Tweed Coolangatta is renowned for producing talented female players, with 19 players drafted into the AFLW since 2016, including two players who were picked up by Port Adelaide in 2022 and one by Collingwood in the same year.

Last year, the club had five teams in the South-East Queensland junior female competition, including one under 17 team, two under 15's, one under 13 and one under 11, including an Under 15 side winning the Premiership.

In 2023, they will add a sixth female team, in the under 9 age group, giving the club female representation right through every age group in the South-East Queensland competition.

The change rooms were built by Gold Coast builders EXIMM and funded by the Palaszczuk Government through the Female Facilities Program ($518,0000), City of Gold Coast ($150,000), AFLQ ($110,000) and Councillor Gail O'Neill ($50,000).

Since 2015, the Queensland Government has approved more than $46 million to support Australian football, including $18 million towards Brighton Homes Arena at Springfield, the new home of the Brisbane Lions AFLW team.

That's in addition to the $8 million AFL Grand Final Infrastructure Legacy Fund, a joint initiative of the AFL and Queensland Government that has so far seen projects worth more than $900,000 approved, including upgrades to playing fields, lights and change rooms across the state.

Quotes attributable to Youth Affairs Minister and Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon:

"The sheer weight of female numbers and performance demanded these change rooms be built and it's a thrill to see them ready for action," said Ms Scanlon.

"This new block is a fitting reward for all those female players and officials who have supported the club through the years and will be a massive drawcard for young girls looking to try their hand at footy.

"We know that there are more than 110,000 female community AFL participants in Queensland – the largest proportion in Australia, with all-female teams starting at the Under 9 level, so these facilities will have a terrific impact on the game day experience while improving talent pathways from the grassroots to the elite level."

Quotes attributable to Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate:

"Local organisations like the Tweed Coolangatta AFL Club play a huge role in promoting active and healthy lifestyles through sport," said Mayor Tate.

"That is why the City is proud to fund these upgrades in partnership with the State as part of our rolling program of renovations to community sporting infrastructure."

"Importantly also, these new change rooms will finally provide female changing facilities that were unfortunately missing in the former, outdated building."

Quotes attributable to AFL Facilities and Government Manager (Queensland) Cobey Moore:

"There are more Queenslanders playing AFL than ever before across our club and school competitions with female participation being a large driver of this growth," said Mr Moore.

"Since 2019, we've seen a 24% increase in female community participation, and we need to make sure our facilities are safe, accessible and welcoming for all.

"As one of the only sports that invest in facility development, we're proud to have worked with the State Government and City of Gold Coast to make this project a reality for the Coolangatta Blues and their next generation of players."

Quotes attributable to Tweed Coolangatta AFC President John Lavender:

"It's taken a few years to finish the new facilities, however as a club we are super excited now they are completed," Mr Lavender said.

"This will have a massive impact for our Junior and Senior footy clubs as we continue to grow our participation numbers."

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