SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS ALL-WEATHER HOCKEY FACILITIES
Ms SEATON (Southern Highlands) [5.59 p.m.]: I speak on behalf of and in support of the Southern Highlands Hockey Association, particularly the efforts of its members led by the President, Steve Bensen, in support of its application for all-weather facilities in the southern highlands. The Southern Highlands Hockey Association is very much a family association. It has equal representation of men and women. It conducts veterans hockey matches. It has categories of players who compete regularly in under 21, under 17, under 13 and younger events. It has men and women, boys and girls. Parents of younger players are often players themselves. Families are involved in transporting their members and members of other families to events. It is very much a community and family oriented association.
With 900 members, it is one of the largest hockey associations in New South Wales but it is one of the few without permanent all-weather sporting facilities for hockey. The bid to fund all-weather facilities is supported by everybody in the southern highlands community, including local doctors. They participate in the association and recognise the health benefits, particularly for young people. Community members, both hockey players and non-hockey players, support the association. Young people often are looking for activities to be involved in, but because there are no permanent all-weather hockey facilities in the highlands the long distance to travel to get to permanent facilities in the changeable weather of the highlands can preclude some young people from participating.
The Southern Highlands Hockey Association has raised $90,000 from its own efforts towards the building of all-weather facilities. The money was raised from local activities, fundraising at hockey matches, raffles and those sorts of things. All association members have worked hard to raise that amount. The community is also recovering from a recent tragic car accident death of an association member, as many honourable members would be aware. The proposal for the all-weather facilities has the support of local business. I mention particularly Blue Circle Southern Cement, a major employer in my area. It has given the association the use of land close to the plant at New Berrima. I understand that the company has been speaking to Steve Bensen and others about making available a larger area of land behind the present sporting fields at New Berrima which could be upgraded to provide permanent all-weather hockey facilities.
Members of the Southern Highlands Hockey Association now have to travel to places such as Narellan and Goulburn for permanent all-weather facilities. Because there are none in the southern highlands we cannot conduct larger carnivals; we have to go elsewhere to participate. It is a region of high growth. Mrs Cathy Allen wrote to me in support of the permanent hockey fields proposal. Her letter encapsulates the sort of organisation that the Southern Highlands Hockey Association is. She wrote:
facilities. The only way they are keeping up with other players is to travel miles and hours to other areas and play in competitions well away from home. I can see our local competition and competitors suffering badly and when you try and instil a sense of loyalty and pride in your children it is becoming increasingly harder.
I am one of many who strongly support the efforts of the Southern Highlands Hockey Association in their endeavours. I am a mother of three children who play hockey, both for their school and their local club, and a wife of a veteran hockey player. I speak for my family by saying that it is becoming harder and harder to play in representative carnivals against other districts, regions and schools because we do not play the game of hockey that is played today. Our children have the drive and the want but cannot gain the skills without the
I ask the Minister for Sport and Recreation join with the Southern Highlands Hockey Association and me in supporting the association’s application for a regional facilities sports grant so that in the near future the southern highlands will have a permanent all-weather hockey facility.
Our association needs a little help in this area as the talent abounds from juniors to veterans . . .