Community Sport and Recreation

Mr PEDERICK ( Hammond ) ( 11:58 ): I rise to support this excellent motion by the member for Chaffey which reads:

That this house—

(a) recognises the benefits of grassroots community sport and recreation to South Australia; and
(b) urges the state government to reverse its decision to reduce funding to the Community Recreation and Sport Facilities Program by $3.5 million per annum from 2015- 16.

This is vital money that should be going into communities. I see with my own children that they are so keen on their electronic equipment, but also they are keen on their local sport. I think anything to get the masses of kids these days out on a sporting field, whether it is a netball court, footy oval, soccer field, basketball court, whatever sport they can get into, is a great thing, not just for their health but for the future health of the whole state, so that people can start from an early age leading healthy lives and getting fit. It is certainly a pleasure to follow a couple of elite sportsmen: an elite water-skier and an elite basketballer. I must admit, I am still trying to be an elite bowler after about 20 years, but I am certainly proud to be the president of the South Australian Parliamentary Bowling Club.

Ms Vlahos: Hear, hear!

Mr PEDERICK: Absolutely.

Mr Pengilly: You've got strange aims.

Mr PEDERICK: Hey, look, it is a good sport. Some people say in regard to bowling that they are not old enough to join it yet. Well, they need to have a look around and see how many young people are taking up the sport, such as the member for Taylor, a very young bowler, who is an excellent bowler, and I hope to see her on the next bowling trip.

This money is vital right across the board, whether it is for lights for facilities or resurfacing courts of any kind—tennis courts or netball courts. In the Mallee league, we play at the Murrayville Cricket Ground (the MCG). We were only there last weekend, and they have just (over the border, I must say it is, but it is in our league) resurfaced their netball courts, and they look magnificent.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan: The home of Rachael Sporn.

Mr PEDERICK: Yes, the home of Rachael Sporn, absolutely. You talk about coming from the grassroots—there are many Sporns, Willersdorfs and Cranes and a whole range of names that come out of that area who have been significant sportspeople, not just in Victoria but throughout South Australia, and they come from grassroots.

This year our own footy club actually accessed a council grant to put in a pop-up irrigation system on the oval. The beauty of how that worked was, yes, the grant was there to pay for the infrastructure, and then it was up to the club to provide the volunteers to dig out the slots and the lanes for the pipes. I think the only true expense that was not voluntary work was the guy with the rock saw, because there is plenty of rock in the Mallee.

I certainly had a good day on the holiday Monday of a long weekend, just before the season, with a group of kids and a couple of other blokes filling it in with sand to get it into place. Yes, that was a council grant, but that was just one thing that I have been personally involved in along with the other people at Peake to make water use more sustainable. There should be more commitment to those sorts of things across the state to assist clubs of any kind to support grassroots sport.

Look at what has happened recently with Adelaide Lightning Basketball, and we think of teams in netball, the Thunderbirds—and I know of local young ladies who are playing in the junior teams at the Thunderbirds. In fact, I have a few nieces who do that as well. The sporting elite have to come from somewhere, and I know that certainly through the country football leagues. I know our league in the Mallee is paired with West Adelaide and their elite junior sporting program. It is great to see the boys go along to that. I would just like to acknowledge Abby Ballard: she is one of the best young footballers at Peake, and she can certainly show a few blokes how to play football, I can assure you.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: She's up there. She was only just below in the best player awards last year, but she will be right this year. In winding up, the elite sportspeople have to come from somewhere and they can come from anywhere in the bush. I acknowledge the player from East Murray, whose name escapes me, who got an AFL contract.

Mr Whetstone: Maynard?

Mr PEDERICK: No. To show that you can come from anywhere and compete at an elite level, East Murray, sadly, does not even have a football club any more. You can come from anywhere and you have to come from the grassroots to get there.

I certainly commend the motion by the member for Chaffey and push for its speedy progress through the house. I think the government's amendment is just not genuine. It would be easy for the government to reinject that $3½ million of funds, considering that in the forward estimates they will get at least $1 billion in unbudgeted GST revenue. I commend the motion.