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Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Page: 5104


Mr GEORGANAS (Hindmarsh) (21:45): I rise tonight to celebrate the success of the Glenelg SANFL Football Club's new lights at Gliderol Stadium, which were partly funded by a $190,000 grant from the federal government. I have lived in the western suburbs of Adelaide my whole life and, way before I entered politics, I always followed the SANFL. I have been a big fan of local footy. In fact, I am actually the No. 1 ticket holder for one of the clubs, West Adelaide Football Club, which I have followed all my life.

As the current member for Hindmarsh, people constantly talk to me about the good work that these local footy clubs are doing in their communities and Glenelg Football Club is no exception. Back in 2010, when I was down at Glenelg, I spoke to the CEO, Rob Nelson, about how the club was going, and in particular what the federal Labor government could do to help support all the good work it does in the community. That is because footy clubs have a fantastic, brilliant way of breaking down barriers, building communities, striving for achievement and promoting healthy, active lifestyles and an opportunity for children and teenagers to play a great, magnificent sport.

So we workshopped the problem together with Rob and the then Minister for Sport, Kate Ellis, the member for Adelaide. She came up for a meeting and we discussed what we could do to help. We came up with a plan for the government to partner with a club to help them out. It turned out that one of the key problems at Glenelg Football Club was that the oval could not be used for night matches because the lighting was not good enough. Glenelg had already done a lot of groundwork and planning for new lights, but the finances needed a bit of a boost to make it a reality. That is why I was so pleased to announce an election commitment in August 2010, together with Kate Ellis, for $195,000 towards the installation of lights at Glenelg Oval. I was incredibly proud to deliver that money and attend the official switching on of the lights together with the member for Adelaide recently. Now that they are installed, the Glenelg Football Club has been able to expand its operating times and provide a more flexible schedule for use by not only football teams but also the wider community in the area, for whom it will be a great asset. That is important because one of our priorities is supporting sport better into the future than it has been in the past, whether that be at school, state or elite level.

I just want to read out an article written by Tim Williams that appeared in my local paper, the Guardian Messenger, on 10 May 2012, because it sums it all up. The title of the story was 'Bays crowd figures up' and it goes on:

GLENELG Football Club says night games have boosted home crowds by 35 per cent so far this season.

More than 5800 fans watched the Bays defeat Sturt under lights on April 27.

That followed a crowd of more than 6000 for the Tigers' first night match against West Adelaide in March, while almost 5000 turned up for the clash against South Adelaide last month.

Glenelg chief executive Rob Nelson said the dub was "absolutely delighted" with the response to night football.

"People are coming for the spectacle," he said.

"You walk around on a Friday night and see a lot of teenagers walking around in Glenelg merchandise in a safe environment. It's opened up our club and our team to a broader demographic."

Mr Nelson said extra lighting had been added to the scoreboard after complaints from fans that it could not be seen clearly during the first night game.

Rob has since written to me to tell me:

"We believe this increased patronage to be largely as a direct result of night football"

"We have not had any reported incidents from any match so far as a direct consequence of night football.

The new sports lighting has enabled a safer environment for our senior teams and junior development teams for training.

We have already been approached to run a charity event under lights later this year such is the interest

This is a great outcome. It is a great outcome for the Glenelg Football Club and a great outcome for the Glenelg area. It means more families are joining the local footy community, more people are getting access to the grounds, and the club is better able to engage with philanthropic ventures, like the proposed charity event.

I take this opportunity to congratulate all the players, the staff and the volunteers at Glenelg on this fantastic achievement, although it probably meant quite a few late nights for them in planning and preparing and weekends of work. What a fantastic outcome for the Hindmarsh community. (Time expired)