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New exemptions for single-sex sporting events

New legislation to broaden exemptions relating to single-sex sporting events commenced on 3 October.

The Equal Opportunity Act will continue to provide an exemption from gender-based discrimination law for sporting activities where strength, stamina or physique of the competitor is relevant.

Under the Equal Opportunity (Sporting Competitions) Amendment Act 2013, it is now also not unlawful to exclude people of one gender from participating in a competitive sporting event if it:

  1. facilitates or increases the participation of people of another gender, and that it is unlikely that there will be an improvement in participation without the exclusion.
  2. enables participants to progress to elite level (national and international) competitions. This allows sporting associations to conduct single-sex competitions where qualification to an elite level of the sport must occur through single-sex qualification tournaments.

In both cases above there must be reasonable opportunities for excluded persons to participate in the sporting activity in another competition.