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Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Page: 6202

Mr MURPHY (Reid) (09:37): The government has increased its support for young Australian athletes under the Local Sporting Champions grants of 2010-11. All members would be aware that the funding has increased to improve financial support for young people and their families who find it difficult to meet the ongoing and significant costs that come with sporting competitions. The increased funding provides double the number of individual and team grants available to each electorate this financial year, bringing the total number of individual grants to 24 and the team grants to two.

For those who are not aware of the Local Sporting Champions grants, the federal government is providing young people aged between 12 and 18 years of age with the opportunity to apply for a $500 individual grant, or a $3,000 team grant, to meet the costs of travel, accommodation, uniforms or equipment when competing, coaching or officiating at an endorsed state or national sporting competition or a School Sport Australia national championship.

The program has been very successful in my electorate of Reid, with all 12 individual grants and the team grant awarded last financial year. I take the opportunity to thank those who contributed to the success of the program last year, especially the panel members. I particularly thank Ms Kylie Norris of the Briars Sporting Club; Mr John Perkins of the Touched by Olivia Foundation; Ms Alyssa Healy, the Australian female cricket player; and Mr Shannon Cole, the Sydney FC midfielder, who also recently returned with the Socceroos from a successful Asia Cup. The panel members were very generous with their very limited time to assess the applications, and I sincerely appreciate each of their contributions.

The applicants constituted a pool of very talented young athletes over three rounds. I congratulate all of the applicants and wish them all the very best with their future sporting endeavours, whether they represent our state or our great nation. The range of sporting endeavours in my electorate of Reid was quite outstanding. The list ranged from dragon boat racing to diving, hockey, lifesaving, golf and archery. It is not surprising, however, given the many excellent sporting facilities available in my electorate and the enthusiasm for sport that so many Australians share. For athletes competing at elite levels there are invariably costs to be met, and I believe the Local Sporting Champion grants are a very worthy form of assistance for young athletes and their families to lessen the load and to help them to fulfil their dreams.

I note that the local media are encouraging and promoting the program. The Burwood Scene recently published an article on the grants in its very new online version. The article about the grants attracted more than 100 hits in the first 24 hours. I dare say that the increased number of individual grants will make the selection of successful applicants much easier for the panel and will ensure that we can provide valuable financial assistance to many worthy applicants. Finally, I commend the Australian Sports Commission for their professional involvement and I thank the Minister for Sport for his continuing support.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank the member for Reid. I think that must almost be a record for the number of words in three minutes.