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Monday, 22 September 2008
Page: 8182

Mr IRONS (6:39 PM) —Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the local Perth district football club finals, which took place in my electorate of Swan. Over the two days, more than 3,000 spectators watched five matches involving 250 young football players. The event took place at EFTel Oval, the home of the Perth Demons football club, and involved players ranging from the under-12 to under-17 level. As a director of junior development for Perth Football Club, I was particularly pleased to attend and be involved in the awards presentation. The quality of the games played over the weekend was exceptional and it was good to see such close competition between the teams. The last game of the weekend was between Victoria Park and South Perth under-17s and was decided by a point. This year’s final series included teams from Redcliffe, Thornlie, Queens Park and Maddington.

Professor Matthew Tonts of the University of Western Australia argues that sport has a vital role to play in generating social capital and building local communities. This was clearly demonstrated by the events of the weekend, where local families from all sections of the community came together to generate a carnival atmosphere.

Junior sports in my electorate in WA were ignored for eight years by the state Labor government, and many clubs need help to continue the growth of community oriented sports. Today the Rudd government announced yet another review by an independent expert panel that will spend months preparing its sports funding review. I do not see one member of the panel from grassroots junior sport, which I feel will mean that nothing will be achieved to meet the real needs of junior sport. Junior sport is much too important to the fabric of this nation to send to a committee.