Australian netball’s pay dispute is no closer to a resolution after talks between Netball Australia and the player union broke down once again.
The country’s professional netballers are currently unemployed after their Super Netball contracts expired on September 30 and no new deals can be signed without a Collective Players Agreement (CPA).
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It has made for a chaotic off-season as players including Diamonds captain Liz Watson, defender Courtney Bruce and premiership winning goal shooter Eleanor Cardwell verbally committing to changing teams.
The Australian Diamonds take on New Zealand in the Contstellation Cup beginning on Thursday before an international series against South Africa.
Talks have broken down between Netball Australia and the Australian Netball Players Association (ANPA) yet again, with players knocking back a 10 per cent increase to the minimum base salary to $44,000.
In a blistering statement, the ANPA claimed Netball Australia rejected their “real partnership model” that had “very modest” requests.
The ANPA had asked for a hybrid revenue share/profit model, a “fair share” of forecast sponsorship revenue, “fair and affordable minimum remuneration” among other requests.
“The Australian Netball Players Association (ANPA) advises that talks with Netball Australia to secure a fair partnership between players and administrators have failed,” the ANPA statement read.
“NA has rejected a real partnership model with the players.
“There is also a dynamic in these negotiations whereby the players believe they have bent over backwards and made significant concessions to reach agreement without reciprocity.
“For these reasons, players now call for mediation to achieve meaningful and fair progress.
“It’s also disappointing that NA says ‘no’ to a player partnership model which aligns the interests of both parties in the good times and the bad. What the players are saying is ‘we’d like to share in the good times we help build and we will share in the risk when times are tough’.
“We cannot in good conscience lock players into an unfair three-year deal which does not reflect their value and contribution.”
The ANPA said it had also “informed Netball Australia that the players have assigned their intellectual property rights to the ANPA, which we now meet with players to discuss the management and use of until a new CPA can be agreed.”
In their own separate statement, Netball Australia said it was “disappointed” the ANPA had “rejected a groundbreaking Collective Player Agreement proposal”.
The governing body said mediation would only “delay the stability and certainty all parties seek” after offering players base wage increase of nine per cent over three years, a three per cent salary cap increase and a share in Super Netball profits.
Netball Australia claimed it “would increase its investment by $1.275 million – a 20 per cent boost across the three-year deal – on top of the earning potential of a profit-share partnership model”.
Offer tabled by Netball Australia, Super Netball clubs
— A three-year term from October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2026, running in parallel with the term of the current Foxtel Group broadcast agreement
—Players and clubs may enter into one, two or three-year contracts
—Annual increases of three per cent in guaranteed player-base salary and private health insurance contributions (based on a materially higher threshold after the previous year’s 22 per cent CPA increase)
—A three per cent increase to the maximum salary cap
—For the first time in the sport’s history, a profit-share partnership model would be introduced where players would benefit from a new profit share out-performance mechanism. — It would see players receive 25 per cent of league-generated profits, after Netball Australia retains the first $500,000 in league-generated profits
— An increase in the minimum base salary in 2024 of 10 per cent to $44,000, and then annual increases during the three-year term of three per cent
— Additional commercial earning potential for players through increases to the additional part A caps and improvements to the approval of third-party agreements
— An initial increase of 10 per cent in both the nominated athlete honorarium and weekly payments for 2024, and then three per cent annual increases during the three-year term
— The introduction of rookies, whereby one nominated training partner per club is eligible for selection outside of injury or illness
— The establishment of the Professional Netball Committee with formal ANPA representation to work collaboratively through new opportunities for continued progression for athletes and the amplification of the league
— Increasing ANPA investment by 30 per cent to $425,000 (excluding GST) in each year of the CPA term
What Netball Australia rejected, according to players association
— Real player/administrator partnership
— Hybrid revenue share/profit share model
— Fair share of above forecast sponsorship revenue only
— Significant first trance of profit allocated to Netball Australia to manage financial challenges
— Fair and affordable minimum renumeration
— Agreed levels of Super Netball financial transparency
— Increasing investment in the players association to support players and their wellbeing without unreasonable restrictions