Weeroona Island Fishing Clulb

30 Nov 2021

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Deputy Premier, Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:51): It is my pleasure to rise today to share with the chamber an outstanding event that was held on the weekend in Port Pirie: the Weeroona Island Fishing Club's annual Christmas gathering. We all came together in Sporties, or the Sportsman Tavern, at Port Pirie and had a fantastic evening.

But what I really want to talk about is the Weeroona Island Fishing Club itself. Now in its 10th year, I have been very fortunate to be a member of the Weeroona Island Fishing Club every year since its inception, and I really want to pay tribute to the people who run the club and the people who participate. Mr Robin Skirrey is a very well-organised person, a former Navy man and a former policeman, who knows how to keep to a schedule, knows how to be organised, knows how to rally the troops and knows how to make sure that good things happen.

Mr Robin Skirrey, the captain of the Weeroona Island Fishing Club, could not have said it better in his short speech at our dinner gathering on Saturday night in Port Pirie when he said—and I am paraphrasing—'Ostensibly we are a fishing club, but actually we do a lot, lot more than that. We probably have more members who don't fish than members who do fish.'

While we have fishing competitions and a range of different fishing activities, it is really about the people of Weeroona Island and others, such as myself from Wilmington and other members who are from Port Pirie and another couple who are members from Georgetown. It is actually really about us coming together to enjoy ourselves in a constructive, fun and sociable way on and around the island, and getting out and about and socialising, when some people might otherwise just be at home on their own, and that is a very positive contribution.

I cannot speak highly enough of this very small but very effective club. The club has a lot of fun events. There are annual events where people have to catch one of a range of different species of fish throughout the year. They can do it anywhere around Australia, and that supports people who are in their retired years and able to travel around Australia; you might be able to catch a fish in New South Wales or Queensland or Western Australia or Tasmania, and it can contribute to this fun competition.

Of course, there are crabbing competitions and there are one-day competitions where certain species are set as essentially a target or a goal, to go and catch these fish on these days. Some of them are 24-hour competitions. That is the very active side of this club, but the social side is incredibly important as well.

A community like Weeroona Island does not have any commercial services at all. It certainly does have an active progress association, which does a wonderful job, but it does not have any commercial services at all. The closest thing is a playground, a picnic ground, a public toilet and a boat ramp. Essentially, they are the facilities on the island, so it is fantastic to be able to get people together.

Another role that the club plays is one of advocacy and one of trying to provide greater opportunities for the Weeroona Island community, and they do this respectfully in partnership with the Weeroona Island Progress Association. They advocated for the boat ramp. There is a history about the boat ramp, which I will not go into in this opportunity in the limited amount of time that I have left, but certainly they advocate for improvements and upgrades, including to the existing boat ramp and to the picnic shelter and the barbecue that are there, and they work very well in that regard. I know there is a request out for some support for a shed for the club to utilise.

This is an outstanding grassroots club that started out of nothing, just started out of a group of people saying, 'Why don't we get together for all of these very positive reasons?' They could not be more welcoming and engaging with people from the island or, as I said, members from Port Pirie, from Wilmington, from Georgetown and no doubt some other places that I am not aware of that non-Weeroona Island members come from. Mr Robin Skirrey does an outstanding job leading it and all members, whether they be committee members or just members at large like me, make a fantastic contribution to the Weeroona Island community through this club.