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Thursday, 20 September 2012
Page: 11499


Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (10:43): About six months ago I was at a meeting and the guest speaker was speaking about the Olympic Games. His opening comments resonated. He said that if we use history as a tool with reference to the good and bad things that happen in our world, religion has the potential to divide us as a nation and a planet; but sport has the capacity to unite us. Sport has an inherent ability to bring together people with different interests, backgrounds and beliefs, people from different cultures from every sector of the globe and put them in an arena where they can all strive, equally, to provide their best—to achieve, to try and to strive to do their best for the nation that they represent. As a result of that, I stand here to acknowledge our Olympians that travelled on behalf of Australia, to London. I congratulate the Australian Olympic team on their achievements during the games recently held in London. Australia was tenth in the medal tally and we achieved seven gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze. I know we focus, as a nation, on the gold but, it is equally important and not a bad second best to have silvers and bronzes sitting in your cupboards. With that goes an enormous amount of commitment and an enormous amount of training. It is not sexy. It is not television-worthy to watch people training, swimming laps of pools or running ultimately for hundreds of kilometres to get themselves in peak conditions from these events. I also acknowledge those commitments by athletes behind the scenes to get them to the Olympics. In my electorate, Greg Lindores, who owns and runs a large turf farm, must be a very proud father. His son, Bryce, who was blinded as a teenager, won a silver medal at the Para cycling events at the recent Paralympic Games in London. Bryce has been competing at an international level for the last six years. Being a local boy, I congratulate him on bringing home some silverware for the local community.

I encourage parents all around Australia to make sure that they give the opportunity to their children to participate in some form of sport or outdoor activity. Their health and social wellbeing can only prosper as a result of being involved in sport. Sadly, an estimated 37 per cent—one million—of our children do not participate in any organised sport. I am sure there are many reasons for this, but as a nation we need to provide an opportunity where children can participate in affordable sport and an active lifestyle. An estimated 1.7 million—67 per cent—of children participate in at least organised sport outside school hours. That was in the 12 months of 2009 when the last ABS stats were available. Participating in organised sport was highest amongst the nine- to eleven-year-olds at 68 per cent, compared to 58 per cent for the five- to eight-year-olds and 65 per cent for 12- to 14-year-olds.

Within the electorate of Wright, we have a vast number of sporting activities that are available for children to participate in. The Lockyer Valley Sports Club offers a variety of sports in the Grantham, Murphy's Creek and Gatton area, an area which was devastated by floods. With the reconstruction money, we have been able to get those sporting fields back together. Equestrian events, dressage and jumping—which I will come to later, which I have a personal interest in—is an event a little bit a more costly, but a very worthwhile sport. There is the Jimboomba Little Athletics Centre with tomorrow's stars, running around our backyards in the electorate. Hopefully, we will see them on the Olympic trail. Beaudesert sporting clay shooters club get out there every weekend and just punch the metal through targets. They have a great time. That is an Olympic sport that is well participated in in my electorate. The Lockyer Valley Netball Association also has over 500 members. Gatton Hockey Club trains as the US Gatton campus. It is very generous to be able use the fields there because their fields were destroyed. The hockey club is able to continue the training regime. And the Mudgeeraba Aquatic Centre has Australia's future swimmers. The Tamborine Mountain Sports Association with its brand new tennis facility will hopefully bring through the next layer of Olympians.

But on indulgence, I would like to stray from my electorate and talk about my baby girl, who I believe is a future Olympian. When we come to this place, we spend a lot of time away from our families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the enormous amount of support that I have as a father in not being there to see my daughter compete, and relying on other fathers to set up jumps and train horses and on the grooms, vets, dentists, farriers and everyone who is part of our team which allows my daughter to compete at a senior level. My daughter is 16. She is in grade 11 at a boarding school. She has the opportunity to take her horse to school with her where she can compete in the three-day event. For those of you who may not be aware, this is an Olympic sport which involves a combination of dressage, show-jumping and cross-country on the same horse, and an amalgamated point system. Grace has been competing at the three-day event for some five years . She came up through the pony club ranks. Her recent achievements have been significant. She won the champion at the last south-east Queensland event. She won the supreme rider for the whole tournament, which was a result of her winning the champion dressage, the champion equitation and champion showman, and coming second in the high jump. Before that, she had recently won an international event in New South Wales, followed by winning an event at Scone in New South Wales, which had 414 riders present. She was in good company. She struggles along okay. But she would not have been able to make those achievements without the past experience of previous Olympians who assisted her in her campaign. I would like to acknowledge Guy Creighton, a past Australian Olympian who competed at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Guy was a champion showjumper and in Grace's early days was her specialised showjumping coach. I would also like to thank Heath Ryan. We recently bought a warmblood stallion off Heath and that horse is producing some wonderful results for Grace at the moment. Heath competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has competed on the world stage in grand prix dressage since 1990. Heath's experience in personal coaching with Grace is invaluable, as every time they are able to be reunited Heath shows Grace new buttons on this horse and new and wonderful places that this horse can take her.

I would also like to acknowledge Chris Burton, a current Olympian who competed in the eventing team for Australia. Chris is a personal friend of our family and Chris's mother, Ruth, was Grace's first introduction to the three-day event. For countless hours we have trained on Chris Burton's family property, getting Grace ready for her next transition.

In addition to those wonderful skills that she has picked up, I would like to acknowledge two other Olympians in the three-day event: Megan Jones and Shane Rose. Whenever Grace is at a competition and there are riders of that calibre at the events, the kindness, compassion and encouragement that they give junior riders is so rewarding. When a child comes out of an arena and you have a current Olympian standing there at the gate, patting your daughter on the leg as she walks out, saying, 'Great ride—keep it up. We'll see you in Brazil,' that lifts a child beyond all comprehension.

In addition to Grace's contributions in the equestrian arena, she was also the age champion in the pool at her college for the last two years. In addition to that she was the athletics track all-age champion for the last two years. Two days ago she was competing at the regional titles for the 100 metres sprint in Brisbane, which she won on a personal best time, and she came second in the shot-put. The week before that she had been part of a participating team which won the touch football grand finals. In addition to all of that, she got an A in accounting.

Can I say I am a very proud father. In Australia we have enormous opportunity to promote our youth and build future Olympians. If my daughter does not choose to be an Olympian, that is fine, because what she is doing at the moment costs me a fortune.