by Alistair Nicholson
It is a time of significant change in the women's game. Not only has it increased its profile in recent times, it is also experiencing changes in its structure and professionalism.
The introduction of a Women's Big Bash League is just one example of this change and highlights the increased time and financial pressures being placed on female players.
The ACA consider that the crucial next step in the evolution of the women's game is the establishment and development of minimum terms and conditions via an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
An MOU, covering all female players working at National and State level, will bring female players in line with Australian male cricketers and South African Cricket and New Zealand Cricket, who took this step several years ago.
Since coming under the ACA's representation, we have made enormous progress in improving the conditions for female players, including the development of National and State contracts for the players.
Establishing an MOU is the logical extension of this work and is essential to ensure female cricketers are appropriately rewarded for their labour and that they have a quality working environment which enables them to be the best players they can be.
In addition, as the female game steps its way towards professionalism, we need to ensure that protections are in place to enable the players to simultaneously pursue their non-cricket careers which will positively impact on their ability to remain in the game and pursue their cricket passion.
Unfortunately, at present it is forcing many women from top-flight cricket, and with the high performance demands increasing, many players will exit the game with some of their best years still ahead of them.
While player payments are a significant consideration, they are just one of many key components and are therefore managed best within the comprehensive framework of an MOU.
We believe an MOU which sets all of the minimum rights and entitlements for players will establish the platform for continued growth of the female game and will lead to female cricket sitting alongside sports such as Netball and Soccer as a genuine career option for females.
Those sports have recognised the players as vital partners through collective agreements and it is important that cricket demonstrates how important its women are to the Australian cricket fabric.
We have commenced early discussions with Cricket Australia and are hopeful about entering into formal negotiations in the near future.
Please call the ACA on (03) 9698 7200 for any further enquiries.