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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 2035


Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (10:31): I rise today to speak about a very important issue for my local community—that is, the future federal funding that was committed to the planned upgrade of Bice Oval in Christies Beach. The former federal Labor government promised to contribute $600,000 for a much-needed upgrade to this popular community facility, if re-elected. I worked hard with the local clubs at Bice Oval to secure this pledge for a number of refurbishments—including the much-needed upgrade of change rooms, which desperately need an overhaul. The fact that there is inadequate lighting also restricts the use of this very popular facility, which many clubs use on a daily basis. The funding would mean a brand-new change room could be constructed on the oval and it would mean sufficient lighting could be installed to allow for night sport to be played. Regrettably, following the election of the Abbott government, the future of this funding remains in doubt. My correspondence to the Minister of sport remains unanswered: two letters seeking urgent confirmation that this project can proceed as planned, one dated 2 October 2013 and one dated 28 November 2013. These letters have been completely ignored. All of the fantastic sporting clubs that call Bice Oval home, including the Christies Beach Football Club, the Southern District Cricket Club and the Christies Beach Sports and Social Club, are now calling on the Abbott government to listen to the community and honour the pledge.

The president of the Southern District Cricket Club, Harvey Jolly, has said that the upgrade would benefit hundreds of locals in our community who come together every week to play at Bice Oval, to watch a game, or to train there. There is much junior development sport there. This funding would also show that the federal government recognises local-level sport as an important contribution to local communities. The time has come now for the Minister for Sport to listen to the close to 500 local residents who have signed my petition on change.org calling for this funding to be delivered. I am a big supporter of local sporting groups in my community. I know just how important this funding is, both to the players and to the organisers, which is why I will continue to push for this commitment from the Abbott government to that $600,000 for this much-needed upgrade.

Despite the change of government, I will continue to lobby on behalf of local sporting groups. The Abbott government needs to show us that they are serious about investing in local communities and supporting local sporting clubs. Regrettably, there are a number of projects—this is just one in my local community—that have been put on hold indefinitely or scrapped following the election of the Abbott government. The government is not doing its job in our local community. I will continue to hold the government to account and ensure that they deliver not only to the Bice Oval project but also on many others. (Time expired)