The Guardian 14 February, 2007

Queensland Netball fouls players

Australia’s elite netballers are concerned about the future of a national competition, following Netball Queensland’s insistence that its players sign inferior contracts.

The Australian Netball Players’ Association (ANPA) has repeatedly tried to talk to Netball Queensland about the issue, with no success. The executive of ANPA, including Liz Ellis, Stacey Rosman, Laura von Bertouch and Ingrid Dick, met last week and are unanimous in their concerns.

Firebirds goalkeeper Melanie Groves (nee McKenzie) says, "I was happy with my old contract, and I want to be represented by ANPA in any new one. I just hope this is resolved quickly so I can get on with my career."

"What Netball Queensland is doing is astonishing", says ANPA CEO and AWU National Secretary Bill Shorten. "They want to participate in a national competition but not play by the same set of rules. It makes no sense."

Lawyers acting for Netball Queensland wrote to players on February 1 demanding new contracts be signed and received by Netball Queensland by February 5. If not, they would be considered out of the team and unable to train.

Requests by players at training for ANPA to negotiate on their behalf were refused by Netball Queensland, which then cancelled training.

Netball Queensland have taken out provisions for childcare, the right for players to put their education first and all cooperation clauses with Netball Australia and the other states. The new contract allows Netball Queensland to on-sell the image of a player to a third party. Players could end up being the face of anything without their permission.

ANPA and the AWU have called on Netball Queensland to put their players on conditions equivalent to the rest of their colleagues around the country, and end the disruption to one of Australia’s favourite sports.

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