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Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Page: 13986


Mr LEESER (Berowra) (16:21): Tucked away on the edge of the Lane Cove National Park, in Pennant Hills, in the Berowra electorate, is a brilliant tennis association—the Eastwood-Thornleigh District Tennis Association, which regularly provides opportunities for tennis for over 1,500 people every single week. People aged three to 83 regularly use the facilities, with sometimes three or four generations playing at the club at one time. The association is over 90 years old and was established by volunteers. That wonderful volunteering tradition continues, beginning with a small association with only a few courts, to the large association it is today, with 16 courts and over 30 teams playing every night.

The association runs a major schools tournament each year, with over 200 schools participating. In March this year, for the first time, the association will host a Bronze semi-professional AMT tournament. This event will involve some of the top players in New South Wales. The association has been told that, if Tennis Australia considers their facilities satisfactory, they will be able to host that event on an annual basis, from 2020 onwards. Hopefully, it will attract other Silver and Gold and eventually Platinum AMT events. This would be an enormous boost for the profile of tennis in my electorate and across Sydney.

I've been particularly impressed by the association's efforts to retain their female players. The ETDTA are improving the facilities to attract more women by providing more supervised areas for young children and to allow for other sporting activities like yoga that might attract more women players.

I want to commend the people who play a leadership role in this association, in particular, Mary Baker, the president; Clare Wagemans, the secretary; and Sandi Edwards, the manager. I also want to acknowledge the wonderful Dave Cochrane, who served as manager of the Pennant Hills centre for over 26 years and is something of an institution in my community.

The next steps that the Eastwood-Thornleigh District Tennis Association want to take is to upgrade some of their facilities, to make them more accessible for those who want to use their facilities throughout the day and night. At the moment, the cost of lighting is a huge burden for the association. The lights that enable people to play at night, particularly in winter, are not efficient and are extremely costly. It costs $3,500 per light every time it's changed. The association wants to install LED lights, which will be more environmental and more efficient and will allow for a major cost saving for the future. More sustainable lighting will enable membership fees to be kept to an affordable level and allow more members of the community to access the facilities at a time that suits them. The association also wants to create automatic locking on their courts so that someone doesn't need to be there to let people in and let them out of the courts.

I want to see sports clubs across the Berowra electorate thriving into the future, and that's why I'll be fighting for an upgrade of the lighting at the Eastwood-Thornleigh District Tennis Association. I'm proud of what the association does. Better lighting will be good for the association, it'll be good for the environment, and it'll be good for tennis in my area.