Interview with Matt Shirvington, Sunrise

MATT SHIRVINGTON, HOST: Soon it will be easier to watch future Matilda's matches when they play at the FIFA Women's World Cup with the Albanese government adding the games to the anti-siphoning list. The scheme prevents subscription television from gaining the rights to broadcast events before giving free-to-air television the opportunity to acquire those rights first. The Government has amended the list to include all matches played at future Men's and Women's World Cup. Joining me now is the Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland. Good morning to you, Michelle. Well, why hasn't the government done this before for the Women's World Cup?​

MICHELLE ROWLAND, MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: It's really important that all Australians, irrespective of where they live or what they earn, have the ability to access for free these iconic sporting events. We know that previously, up until now, it's only been the men's competition for the FIFA World Cup that's been on the list. We've decided to add women because we have seen the success of the Matildas, how Australians got behind their team and that fantastic performance that united the nation needs to be recognised in this list.​

SHIRVINGTON: I don't think anyone really saw what was going to happen. I mean, half the nation tuned in to watch the Matildas, and of course, you could watch them on free-to-air on seven. Why wasn't the World Cup on the anti-syphoning list before?​

ROWLAND: These rights are negotiated well in advance, before we came to government, and it's been a long time since the anti-siphoning list and scheme has been reviewed comprehensively, so we decided to do that. We are undertaking that now, but because these are decided well in advance, and we know that those bids are closing very soon, we needed to act now, and we have.​

SHIRVINGTON: Well, you might need to act in the future as well because one thing the Matildas did, and we all know it, we've seen it over the last couple of years, the growth of women's sport. Are there any sports that are going to be added to the anti-syphoning list in the future?​

ROWLAND: We've made it clear that we want to have a focus on expanding access to women's sport and para sport, and that should be recognised in the anti-siphoning list. We're continuing to update this through our consultation process, but for now, it's important that we have the Matildas on that list so that Australians have those opportunities to watch the Matildas live and free.​

SHIRVINGTON: Yeah. Massive win for sports fans. Thank you, Minister. Appreciate it.