New 'landmark' pay deal for Australian netballers.

Australia’s new national netball league has thrown down the gauntlet to the AFL, with a pay deal that promises to set a new benchmark for women’s sport.

While the full details will be announced later today, the ABC understands the agreement means players will earn double the previous minimum wage of $15,000, and those with infants can travel with a carer at the club’s expense, among other family-friendly provisions.

Netball Australia believes it will offer a unique opportunity to a professional pathway, just as it competes for talent with the national women’s football league that will be launched at the same time next year.

“Its a landmark deal for Australian Netball athletes,” Netball Australia deputy chief executive Marne Fechner said.

“It maintains netballers as the highest-paid professional athletes in the country and it provides a great mix of being part-time professional athletes.”

Netball’s deal is announced just days after the AFL was forced to answer criticism of its $5,000 payslip for its new women’s league players, in their inaugural two-month season.

Ms Fechner anticipates that the new deal will give women greater incentives and support to return to the sport after they have started their family.

“Players with children under 12 months will be able to return to their playing and training commitments but still have their children looked after while they do that,” she said.

“We have very few that have taken that pathway and returned to the sport.”

In theory, the new collective bargaining agreement gives the AFL and netball players the same base salary per week, but netball players are set to be helped by increased sponsorship and generous employment provisions.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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