Rise in female participation calls for new change rooms at Tweed Coolangatta

  • New $828,000 Female Facilities at Tweed Coolangatta Junior AFC
  • New facilities aim to increase female participation

AFL Queensland invested $110,000 towards the project from the Australian Football Facilities Fund

Thousands of women and girls will now have access to new female change rooms at Len Peak Oval, the home of Tweed Coolangatta Junior Australian Football Club, thanks to joint funding from the State Government, AFL Queensland, and the local council. 

The new building includes an amenities block, change rooms with showers, official’s rooms, coaches’ rooms, and storage and will be used by local players and officials along with members from the Coolangatta Centre of Sports Excellence Program, Life Change 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.

This season the club will field an U9s girls’ team for the first time which adds to its already established junior youth female pathway in the South East Queensland competition with girls-only teams in the U11, 13, 15 and 17 age groups.

The change rooms were built by Gold Coast builders EXIMM and funded by the Queensland Government’s 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 $2.8 million approved, including upgrades to playing fields, lights and change rooms across the state.

AFL Facilities and Government Manager (Queensland) Cobey Moore said the game’s need to deliver fit-for-purpose facilities is driven by ongoing participation growth and the changing profile of participants.

“There are more Queenslanders playing AFL than ever before across our club and school competitions with female participation being one of the drivers of this growth,” he said.

“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.

“AFL is one of the sports that invests that invests in facility development and 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.”

Tweed Coolangatta Club President John Lavendar thanked AFL for their support and contribution.

“We’ve got a really good relationship and it has been a pleasure working with them,” Mr Lavendar said.

“They helped us with the grants the whole way through, they’ve written us a couple and we got a couple, and we couldn’t be more thankful for their support.”


Sports Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the new facilities would ensure the club can attract and accommodate a growing number of female participants to Australian Rules in Queensland.

“The Female Facilities Program set the ball in motion back in 2018 in catering for what has been unprecedented growth in female participation in sport over the last five years,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“The Queensland Government approved more than $15.2 million towards 46 projects like these change rooms that have encouraged more women and girls to play sport and keep playing.

“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.”

Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said the new purpose-built facilities were a long time coming for the Tweed Coolangatta club.

“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.

“There have been significant delays due to COVID and rising building costs but it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish, and we got there in the end.

“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.”

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