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Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Page: 8591

Mr GEORGANAS (Hindmarsh) (21:44): Tonight I am very pleased to report that, thanks to a $1 million grant from the Australian government, my electorate of Hindmarsh is about to get some great new sporting facilities. As a kid growing up in the western suburbs of Adelaide in my electorate, I always loved the world game. I grew up playing it with my friends at school, in club competitions and in amateur competitions as well on weekends. We watched matches on TV and idolised favourite players. It was always a big part of our lives. Later on in life I coached teams. I coached junior premier league. I coached the junior side of Adelaide Olympic and the junior sides of the national team West Adelaide. When I had kids, they played locally too. Now the sport is even more popular than ever. Today in South Australia there are over 23,000 players registered with the Football Federation of South Australia. More than 40,000 primary school students take part in football programs every year run by the federation. It is a great way to keep fit and have fun. It is a great game to participate in.

But in the last few years finding enough space for all the teams to train and play has been tough. Many clubs have complicated sharing arrangements or have to travel long distances to play due to the lack of pitches. So a few months ago I sat down with Adelaide Shores in my electorate and Football Federation Australia to see what we could do. The CEO of the Football Federation, Mr Michael Carter, told me that current pressure on playing fields is at breaking point. He told me we needed more high-quality pitches in the western suburbs to ensure people could get involved close to home. He also told me that we needed more high-quality pitches to be able to promote the game and to have more children playing.

Fortunately, new playing fields were one of the key projects on Adelaide Shores's master plan. The CEO of Adelaide Shores, Kate Williams, and the board chairman of Adelaide Shores, Mr Bernie Lange, had a great plan to build a new state-of-the-art facility which would become a new hub for football in the western suburbs. We made applications to the Treasurer and Minister Simon Crean and told them that, if the Australian government could pay half, Adelaide Shores could organise the other half. I was stoked when they agreed almost immediately, and for that I have to thank Adelaide Shores and the Football Federation of South Australia for putting together such a high-quality proposal. The project will be underway very soon, and I am absolutely stoked because, when it is finished, more than 1,000 players will be able to use the new facilities every single week. Local clubs will get some breathing space. The Football Federation of South Australia will be able to offer its programs to more children and adults and teams, and the economic benefits to South Australia will be huge.

Adelaide Shores is already a huge attraction with its golf course, caravan park, sports fields and much more, all on the beautiful coast of West Beach in my electorate. It is a popular holiday spot and welcomes many school students every year for camps. It is also the site of Surf Life Saving's new headquarters, called Surf Central. I was really pleased to be able to see them receive a $1.5 million grant for this new central building and headquarters for surf lifesaving. The new headquarters will be opening very soon, which is very exciting.

Thanks to this funding which has been provided by the Australian government, Adelaide Shores is now also going to be the new premier football hub in the western suburbs. More children and adults will get the chance to play sport at all levels, and there will be stronger pathways for those wanting to reach that elite level. I have no doubt that, with the level of talent that we have in the western suburbs, there will be some kids coming through that end up being just as good as their sporting heroes.

Included in this money is funding to establish the first FIFA star rated pitch in South Australia. This is a huge achievement, and it will mean that the Football Federation will be able to attract major tournaments like the national high school championships and the youth championships. This is in addition to the men's, women's, juniors', development and social competitions which will all use the new facilities.

Congratulations to Adelaide Shores and the Football Federation of South Australia. They are fantastic partners of the Australian government, and it was my pleasure to assist them and deliver the $1 million funding for this project. This grant will enable them to provide further value to the community, particularly the people of the western suburbs, through the provision of high-quality, well-managed sport and recreation facilities.