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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 3776


Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (10:47): I am delighted to rise this morning to speak about the players, teams, coaches and volunteers involved in the sport of volleyball in my electorate of Robertson, on the Central Coast. Phil Boxsell, from Macmasters Beach, invited me to Central Coast Volleyball recently. Phil is encouraging people from right across our region to get involved. He said that volleyball is one of the world's most popular sports, with nearly every nation competing competitively on the world stage.

Today I'd like to recognise the amazing Central Coast Stingrays, who are the women's representative team, with over 40 women in the program playing both open and age or junior divisions. The teams are coached by Steve Hunter, Graeme Lowe and Chris Ostenfeld, and many will know Steve and his wife, Kelly, who are long-time players who have represented in the highest competition level, the Australian Volleyball League. The Stingrays play regularly in the state league, at state cups, and they have been successful in winning or placing in many of those events. Our Stingrays also compete in the winter season in the Sydney Volleyball League, in the division 1, division 2 and junior levels—again winning and placing in those divisions over the past three years. Phil also told me that five juniors—Kim Meyer, Zoe Boxsell, Ashleigh Meyer, Emelyn Ostenfeld and Eloise Warby—were selected for state programs, with three participating in the Australian Junior Volleyball Championships, the eastern and national university games and the combined high schools New South Wales team. Congratulations to these incredible young people and all of the hardworking and committed volunteers who help make their success a reality.

We love to encourage Australians to be more active more often, which is why this week's budget has delivered a $230 million package of initiatives that I'd like to speak briefly about. This investment in participation at a local, grassroots level will have a significant positive impact on communities across the Central Coast, and I thank the Minister for Sport, whom I'm meeting with today to see how these initiatives may specifically benefit our area. Woy Woy Oval, McEvoy Oval at Umina Beach and Terrigal's Brendan Franklin Oval are just some of the local sportsgrounds we've already delivered funding to to help upgrade since the coalition first came to government, and I'll be fighting to see further improvements locally.

We are delivering funding of over $50 million to help boost participation in physical activity across the nation, targeted at the less active across all ages and stages of life. There's increased funding to expand the important Local Sporting Champions program—a really popular program locally—to support a further 3,000 athletes, which is a 56 per cent increase. Applications for the next round of this grant program are open, with a closing date of 30 June. The Sporting Schools program will also be extended, to encourage schoolchildren to play sport and be active and to reduce the cost to parents, with up to 1.1 million primary and secondary school students taking part.