Community Sport and Recreation | SPEECH


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN ( Stuart ) ( 11:51 :49 ): I rise to support the member for Chaffey in his original motion. It is a very good, positive motion, and I do not believe that in their hearts members opposite would actually disagree with it, to be honest. I think it is churlish and obstructive to move the motion the government has to amend the motion.

Members interjecting:


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: If you just look through it quickly, Deputy Speaker, it recognises the benefits of grassroots community sport and recreation. Of course we would all do that. There would not be a member in the house who does not do that. Even those members who are not particularly sport inclined or whose lives and interests have not taken them that way would all accept and understand how important sport is, particularly for people early in their lives.

Of course, the benefits do not disappear with regard to health and fitness and teamwork and ambition, and even in solo-type sports you are still a member of a club, so you benefit from those sorts of things. You benefit from taking on challenges, facing difficult situations, working through them and training so that you can achieve. There are many things that are very important there.

Paragraph (b) urges the government to reinstate the $3.5 million for the recreation and sports facilities program. What member of parliament, Liberal, Labor or anybody else, would not want that to happen? Who would not want that to happen? I bet if every single member opposite were visiting one of their sports clubs and said to them, ‘Do you think it would be good if the $3.5 million was reinstated?’ they would all say, ‘Yes, I think it would be good if that were to happen.’ So, to try to cut that out of the member for Chaffey’s motion is dreadful.

He is trying to replace it with ‘supports the many clubs and organisations which have received funding’, but what about the ones that have not received funding? The government supports the clubs that have had a handout, but they do not support the clubs that have had a handout? That is ridiculous, and I refuse to believe that the member for Newland, the former minister for recreation and sport, actually believes that. I do not know where that has come from, who has told him to come down here and make that change. I would challenge any member opposite to tell me that they only support the ones that the government has already given money to and do not support the ones that the government has not yet given money to; it is crazy.

Part (c) of the member for Chaffey’s motion calls on the state government to ensure that all community and sport and recreation grants are indexed. That makes good sense. If you want to keep giving the same sort of support, you need to index it with inflation, Deputy Speaker. It makes great sense.

The overall recreation and sport grants are fantastic things with three main components: active clubs, facilities and major infrastructure developments—absolutely outstanding. I cannot understand why the government would be wanting to withdraw money from those in any one of those areas. It is actually very short-sighted. Sport and recreation investment actually saves the government and the taxpayer money in the long run with regard to reduced health expenditure and reduced crime.

People who participate actively throughout their lives in any sort of positive community club, and particularly sport, tend to stay on the straight and narrow far more than others. There is a significant multiplier effect of this money as well. The member for Chaffey talked about volunteering. Any money that goes to a sporting club to invest specifically in the facilities upgrade of that club is going to be partnered by other funds from other sources—typically fundraising from that club—but perhaps more importantly, it is going to be partnered with time and effort and skill and capacity that comes from volunteers in those clubs. There is a very genuine and serious multiplier effect of that money. This is not the place for the government to be removing contributions to the public.

I accept that rural areas benefit more than other areas. The reality is that there is less access to other activities, and sport is very strong in rural areas, even if that access is limited just by distance and travel to get to other towns or to Adelaide. In rural areas, sport and recreation is incredibly important, but it is equally true in the city. All the people who participate in grassroots sport in the city, all the way through to an elite level, all benefit.

I would like to put very clearly on the record that, since the government has made it very clear that it disagrees with paragraph (b) of the member for Chaffey’s motion and wants to turn it upside down and just support clubs that have already got money, I put the challenge to the government to come out and tell us what it will do with the money that is earmarked to go to sport from the Adelaide Oval, starting out at $200,000 and working its way up to $1 million per year to come out of the Stadium Management Agreement and the overall management of the Adelaide Oval.

The government will eventually receive $1 million a year directly from the Adelaide Oval and the government at the moment is trying to take back $3.5 million. At the very least, it could say that when it receives the extra $1 million it will put it straight back into the facilities program of the recreation and sport grants. I am very passionate about this and I of course have a very strong sporting background, but this is something that is actually about communities. It is not about me because I love sport and when I was growing up that was my thing. It does not matter if sport was not your thing; it is indisputable the positive benefit that this program has to our community—whether it is ongoing health, whether it is keeping kids off the streets and productively engaged in other areas, it is very important.

I think it is dreadful that the government is taking money out of it and I think it is even more dreadful that it has an amendment to the motion that says that it supports the clubs that have already received money and ignores the clubs that have not received any money.