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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11267

Ms COLLINS (FranklinParliamentary Secretary for Community Services) (09:33): I want to talk about a recent visit of mine to an active after school program. The Illawarra Primary School has an active after school program at the Kingborough Sports Centre in my electorate. The Kingborough Sports Centre have built a new gymnasium with $1 million of federal government funding, some state government funding and some local government funding. It is a fantastic facility down there and I had the pleasure of officially opening it.

On this occasion, I was down there with the active after schools group. Over the last several years of being a federal MP, I have had many parents, teachers and students write to me about what a wonderful program the Active After-school Communities program is and how much the children enjoy it. I have been very privileged to attend quite a few of these in my electorate, from playing basketball at St John's at Richmond to playing football with the students at Bellerive. I have also had the opportunity to do some dance and DJ'ing with the students from South Arm Primary School. But on this occasion we were playing some games in the new gymnasium down at Kingborough with the Illawarra children. Approximately 5,500 primary school students in Tasmania participate in this program, so it is very popular in Tasmania, with around 90 schools and outside school hours care programs participating in this wonderful program. I was really pleased that Minister Arbib committed $43.9 million to continue this program as part of the recent federal budget. I know that that decision has been very well received in my electorate. Certainly the Illawarra Primary School children have been participating in the program since 2007. Some of the things that the Illawarra children have done just this year include cheerleading, skateboarding, archery, Zumba and soccer.

I also had the pleasure of meeting one of their local coaches, Les Richardson. Les has been doing 40 soccer sessions for Illawarra Primary School over the last 12 months and he was recently presented with a five-star Community Coach award, so I want to congratulate Les on that award. It was really pleasant to be with him to see him work and to see the pride he is instilling in his young pupils while teaching them soccer skills in the gymnasium. Certainly his enthusiasm for the children and for the program is second to none. We all know that it is coaches like Les and other people working on a program such as this, people who give their time and effort, who make these government programs such a success.

I also want to talk about the Active After-School Communities office in Tasmania being run by Blair, Aaron and Kerry, who do a fantastic job in organising local sports. They have a very large range of opportunities for the students to participate in. As you have heard, from all the sports I have talked about, it is a great program; it is very well run in Tasmania and the Tasmanian students just love it.