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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1808

Dr GILLESPIE (Lyne) (09:57): Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with a number of local young sporting champions in my electorate who have continued to excel in their chosen sports. In fact, this year, 15 local individuals and teams have been successful in obtaining assistance to further pursue their sport at a high level, thanks to the federal government's Local Sporting Champions grants scheme. The program, administered by the Australian Sports Commission, recognises the additional costs that parents and families are confronted with when their children pursue their chosen field in representative sport. This year's recipients have used this help to advance their performance. This program does nothing but good for our community, and we need to continue support for this program so that our young athletes with potential have the opportunity to travel and compete. Nurturing local talent is the way to go if we want strong, capable sportspeople in the future. These Local Sporting Champions grants are available to all junior sportspeople and athletes who compete in state or national and international competitions. Participants prioritising their time and effort is difficult enough without added financial pressures, and that is exactly where the Local Sporting Champions grants come into play.

In my recent presentation to local recipients, I was informed of how helpful the grants are in supporting both individuals and teams in covering travel, accommodation, uniforms, equipment and other costs. I take this opportunity to again congratulate our local elite athletes as recipients of these important grants. The recipients include Elliot Starr in basketball, Oliver Nosworthy in rugby league, Kearyn Eastwell in athletics, Nickaela Malby in equestrian, Bradley Paterson in hockey, Liam Magennis in cycling, Connor Dewbery in hockey, the Port Macquarie Hastings Hockey Association clubs, Reid Bourke in hockey, Kane Pollard in soccer, Lucas Mepham in soccer, Patrick Hamilton in soccer, Taylor Sergeant in surf-lifesaving and Annobel Starr in basketball.

Congratulations, again, to them all. They certainly have the potential to become our nation's future sporting stars. We want as many young people living up to their potential as possible, and Local Sporting Champions grants are one important and valuable way of achieving that.