Sporting and Recreational Facilities

Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (12:21): I, too, rise to support the member for Stuart's motion, and I think sport is the heart and soul of the fabric of our community, both in regional South Australia and, just as importantly, in metro South Australia. I have had the good fortune to live in both country South Australia and down here in Adelaide, and sport is probably something that has the fondest memories for me; the opportunities that were given to myself as a young sportsperson.

Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (12:21): I, too, rise to support the member for Stuart's motion, and I think sport is the heart and soul of the fabric of our community, both in regional South Australia and, just as importantly, in metro South Australia. I have had the good fortune to live in both country South Australia and down here in Adelaide, and sport is probably something that has the fondest memories for me; the opportunities that were given to myself as a young sportsperson.

Now I watch my children given the opportunities and I watch their friends and how they actually play together. It gives them values—not just on how to play sport, but on how to be a team, how to share and also how to achieve. Also, when you do achieve or when you have actually participated in a game or a competition, just what rewards you can get, whether it is about winning or whether it is about participation, whether it is about achieving a personal best or whether it is just about having fun.

For me, I have had the opportunity to do all of that. Obviously when I was a lad in Adelaide I was given the opportunity as a young fellow to play a variety of sports, and I think that that was really something that was a bit of a luxury, because in many cases a lot of the young, once upon a time, were given a sport to play in winter and a sport to play in summer. For me, I loved my football and hence I played down at Paringa Park and Somerton with great pride in my school colours. In doing that, I was given the opportunity to play down at Glenelg Football Club in the mini-league competition.

Members interjecting:

Mr WHETSTONE: They certainly did have mini-league. I can tell you that when I played down at Glenelg I played with the Kernahan family, and most of us can remember the Kernahan brothers—Gary, Stephen and David—

Mr van Holst Pellekaan: Gary lives in Port Augusta now.

Mr WHETSTONE: He does, indeed—and obviously their very proud father, Harry, used to follow them around with a football over and over, day in and day out, but there were many others who also achieved. Sadly, a knee injury put an end to my promising career in football, but along the way I got myself better—

Mr van Holst Pellekaan: Would have won a Brownlow otherwise!

Mr WHETSTONE: A potential Brownlow—and I moved into soccer. Again, that was another dynamic of sport and it gave me opportunities to move around the state, competing with country versus city. That was another way of meeting friends and experiencing a lifestyle that I had not been able to have with either living in the city and enjoying a country lifestyle or living in the country and enjoying a city lifestyle.

Over the years, sport has given me great pleasure, and I was lucky enough to be a Findon skid kid. One of the accolades there was that I was able to jump the wall of fire. I do not have any burns to prove it, but it really was another experience and another accolade. As I have said to some of my colleagues in this place, waterski racing was then a passion of mine. I was able to compete at all sorts of levels.

Over 25 years I was given the opportunity to participate and compete at both a state and national level, and I was lucky enough to be chosen in several Australian teams at an international level. That really did give me another dimension on competitive sport. At that level, it is about winning. In essence, it is not about competing; it is about having fun and enjoying what you do, but it is about winning. That is something that I am very proud of over my many years involved in that.

Coming into fatherhood, I put my aspirations of sport on hold and I chased my kids' sporting careers. Obviously, as many here have done, I filled in the void and took up coaching and mentoring roles. Whether you are an expert coach, a mentor for your kids or an expert orange cutter for your daughter's netball team, they are all the gaps that need to be filled along the way.

You might have a four-wheel drive car, and in most cases you have a four-wheel drive car so that you can fit the netball team or the soccer team in. We will not say that cars have been overloaded, but they are the sorts of things that you do to support sport. You might do a working bee at the motocross club to make sure that the track is ready for the next competition, or you might do a working bee at the footy oval or the tennis court. They are the sorts of things that can never be underestimated.

I will touch a little on some of the statistics in the region of Chaffey. Some of the stats show that in the Murray and Mallee 69 per cent compete or participate in sport, which is about 38,000 adults participating, and I think that is outstanding. Here in South Australia, more than 200,000 South Australians have been involved in coaching roles, umpiring or administrating, and the vast majority of these have been in a voluntary capacity.

This motion that the member for Stuart has put forward is also an opportunity for those volunteers—parents, friends and people who have given their time and dedication to supporting those sporting clubs—to be recognised. Also, their efforts in fundraising, essentially, are the heart and soul of our sporting clubs because, as the member for Goyder has said, sadly in this year's budget we have seen about $3.6 million removed from the sport and recreation budget, and it is a sad indictment on any government to be taking away something that is the fabric of a community, metropolitan or country.

It is the foundation of young participants in sport getting a grip on exactly what they are good at, what they can do to prevent boredom, for social behaviour. Sport is one of the best medications for mental health, sport is one of the best medications for social behaviour, and sport is a great experience for family unity, for friendship building. I think this is a good motion. We need to look deeper than just the facilities; we need to look at what competing is all about. It is about what it provides as a flow-on effect.

I will touch quickly on the Riverland and the Mallee and some of the sporting prowess and achievements of some of our higher achievers. We have a very rich and proud motorsport history. We have had participants (as I did) compete in the world famous Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Race in New South Wales. We brought home the trophy in 2000. Over 350 teams competed from right around the world, so we are very, very proud of that achievement. Last year, one of my constituents brought home the outright Finke Desert Race trophy, and that is another great achievement. Go-karting, speedway, boat racing and dinghy racing are some of the other motorsport events.

We have AFL greats—Tony Modra, Neil Kerley, Russell Ebert, Mark Ricciuto, just to name a few. We have great Olympians—Hayden Stoeckel and Sophie Edington—and we have great cricketers—the Darlings. We have a great dynamic of families and individuals who have represented not only the region, but also our state and nation. I think that we as a sporting state should be proud of what has been achieved. I commend the member for Stuart's motion.

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