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Elite netballers demand 100% pay rise

April 5, 2013

Australia's world champion netballers are preparing to take industrial action over a pay dispute with Netball Australia.

Australian Netball Players Association (ANPA) is to meet with Netball Australia today (Friday 5th April) in the latest attempt to negotiate a new deal.

The Diamonds have taken the dispute to Fair Work Australia through the Australian Workers Union, with players asking for an increase from $200 to $400 per day of national team duty.

On average, players spend 50 contact days with the Australian team a year, earning them, according to the ANPA, an income of around $10,000.

The union wants that to double to $20,000.

Netball Australia, which has just confirmed the most comprehensive broadcast deal in Australian netball history, says it has offered players a 20%.

ANPA Director John-Paul Blandthorn says the Diamonds are prepared to use industrial action if need be, telling news agency AAP "the players are up for a fight, they're just sick and tired of it.

"It's not as if we're talking about the bottom 60 players in Australia. We're talking about the top 10.

"In any other sport - horseracing, AFL, cricket - all the top 10 athletes tend to earn okay money."

Blandthorn said netballers who play for both the national team and in the Trans-Tasman league earn around $35,000 from playing netball each year.

However, Netball Australia Chief Executive Kate Palmer said seven of the current Diamonds earn more than $100,000 from netball and related activities, with four of those earning over $150,000.

Palmer explained "we work very hard at making sure that, where possible, they can earn more income.

"We want to work with the players to ensure they have a really strong and successful future.

"If I was given an increase of 20% I would be pretty excited. However, I have to understand that we're not starting from a high base for a national commitment."

Palmer contends that Diamonds players are some of the most well rewarded female athletes in the domestic market.

Blandthorn expects little to be resolved at today's meeting and that the Association might lodge a protected action ballot that would list several types of industrial action the club could take.

Actions considered include players refusing to play in the national team, refusing to allow their image to be used in advertising by Netball Australia and refusing to answer any emails from Netball Australia's domain name.

Palmer said she didn't think threatening the sport was an effective way of dealing with the dispute, telling AAP "I just don't see that as a very productive way of finding common ground."

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