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Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Page: 5384

Mr BYRNE (Holt) (16:19): I rise briefly to talk about two sporting programs that are assisting many young families in my electorate. Holt is in the third fastest growing area in Australia, where 29 per cent of the population is under 18 years of age. Many young families in my electorate are encouraging their children to improve their health by becoming more active in sport.

I am particularly delighted to talk about two programs that recognise this need for support for young families in the range of sporting programs. The first is the Australian government's Local Sporting Champions grant. This program has been popular with young athletes in Holt since it was launched in 2008, awarding $15,000 to 25 successful athletes and one team so far. The Australian government recognises that young families can find it difficult to meet ongoing costs associated with their children participating in state or national sporting championships. To help alleviate some of these costs the Australian government has allocated $3.2 million annually for this particular program.

I want to talk about one successful recipient, Corey Persoons from Cranbourne, who received a grant to assist with travel to South Australia to represent Victoria at the national championships last year. Inline hockey is everything to Corey, and I am glad that this grant is making and has made a real difference to help people like him reach their full potential. I hope that some of the kids in Holt could be our next Olympians, Paralympians, tennis or AFL stars due to assistance from this program. Incidentally, Corey has also just participated in the under-12 Australian team which has just won the Bauer Cup against the under-14 New Zealand side. This is the first time that Australia has actually won this title. Corey is also off to Tasmania for the national inline hockey championships. So this is a young man who has been assisted by this program and who is moving on to further his career. On that note, I wish to continue to encourage other young people like Corey in my community, aged between 12 and 18 years, to apply for the Local Sporting Championships grants, as a further 24 individual grants of $500 and two team grants of $3,000 are available to families in our area.

The second program is the Active After-school Communities program. The federal government has committed $43.9 million to this program so that it can continue until 2012. This program where kids can participate at the school after school or go to sporting clubs has been very successful in our area. I would particularly like to commend the City of Casey, which recently ran an event where more than 230 eight- and nine-year-olds from Doveton Primary School, Maranatha Christian College, St Paul Apostle South Primary School and St Paul Apostle North Primary School participated in a range of sports at the event, including football, baseball, rugby union, soccer, Little Athletics, softball and volleyball.

Many parents in the local community have commented about the benefits of this program and how it is making their children more healthy. These are two great programs run by the federal government, assisting young families and young kids in our area.