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Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Page: 8600


Mr CIOBO (Moncrieff) (22:20): I rise to speak on the prowess demonstrated by Australia at the recent Olympic Games. In particular, I want to focus on the sporting prowess and the achievements of Gold Coast athletes. Gold Coast athletes won four of Australia's seven gold medals in London. The Gold Coast, Australia's sixth-largest city, of which I am privileged to represent a sizeable portion, had 44 representatives either as individuals or as team members, and they won four gold, three silver and three bronze medals. If Gold Coast Olympic athletes represented their own country, we would have beaten the balance of Australia. The city would have finished 19th on the medal tally, tied with the Czech Republic, and that would have put the Gold Coast one place below Jamaica and above countries such as Brazil, Spain and South Africa—not a bad result for the Gold Coast. There are some interstaters who look down on the Gold Coast, and I say to them: shame; how little they understand. I see the honourable member for Werriwa nodding his head in agreement—he and I have exchanged words on this matter.

I would like to focus on some of the notable performances that in many respects highlighted the sporting prowess of Australia's Gold Coast. I am not sure whether you, Madam Deputy Speaker, or others in the chamber were up early in the morning to watch Sally Pearson's extraordinary effort—

Mr Tony Smith: I did.

Mr CIOBO: I am pleased to hear the member for Casey was cheering on this Gold Coast athlete. I know he cheers on everyone from the Gold Coast, and I am very grateful. Sally Pearson's 100-metre hurdles victory was one of only three individual gold medals for Australia. After she crossed the line, people watched with bated breath wondering whether she did or did not win.

We saw that she got out of the blocks first and won, but she was chased down by the American, Dawn Harper, in an incredible effort. There were only two hundredths of a second between Sally winning her first gold medal and Dawn Harper winning her second.

Three of the four members of the gold medal winning K4 1,000-metre crew are based on the Gold Coast. The quartet included Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park's Jacob Clear, Northcliffe's Tate Smith and Illawarra's David Smith, who relocated to the Australian Institute of Sport's Gold Coast canoeing base ahead of the Olympics.

I would also like to touch upon Southport swimmer Melanie Schlanger, who became Australia's first gold medallist on the first day of the Olympics by anchoring the 4 x 100-metre freestyle relay for women. Her haul later grew to include two silver medals from relays.

The belle of the ball, so to speak, was 16-year-old Marymount College student Brittany Broben. She was the youngest member of the Australian team in London and snared silver in the 10-metre platform final. She admitted that she almost fell off the 10-metre tower out of sheer nervousness before nailing her final dive to capture the silver medal. Broben has in her sights the next big achievement of her young life—passing the test for her driver's licence. We hope that would almost be automatic.

Gold medal winning sailor Mathew Belcher is a former TSS and Bond University student. He won gold in the 470 class sailing event with Malcolm Page. The pair entered the Olympics ranked No. 1 in the world and held off Great Britain to snare the gold medal.

These are just some of the standout performances by Gold Coast athletes. But I turn the focus of this chamber, and indeed of the government, not to how we performed—although, overall, Australia's performance was considered by some to be disappointing or not up to the standard expected—but to the 2018 Commonwealth Games. We are excited at the prospect of the 2018 Commonwealth Games being hosted in my city of the Gold Coast. We are excited at the prospect of once again having the chance to highlight the sporting prowess of our finest athletes, not only from the Gold Coast but from across Australia.

One thing we are resolute about is that the Commonwealth Games in 2018 should be the very best Commonwealth Games Australia can deliver. Fundamental to delivery of the finest Commonwealth Games this country has seen will be support from the federal government. It is not good enough that we still have no commitment to funding from the federal government. It is not good enough that, when we have the opportunity to place Australia on the global sporting stage and to build infrastructure which will secure not only my city but our country as the sporting regional power for decades, the government turns a blind eye to it. They need to step up to the plate and they need to commit. We have the opportunity to go from strength to strength. Our sporting champions truly deserve it.