Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Ku-ring-gai Sporting Clubs

People at baseball batting cage

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Ku-ring-gai—Minister for Skills and Training, and Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology) (16:28): Sporting clubs and organisations in Ku-ring-gai are incredibly important and that is reflected by the broader national participation in community-based sports. In 2020 to 2021 more than 88 per cent of Australians over the age of 15 participated in sport, including 70.8 per cent of children in organised after-school activities, of which 67.3 per cent were related to sports. Throughout my lifetime, as with many people in this place, I have been involved in sporting organisations as a player, coach, manager and administrator, and I am indebted to have the great privilege of being able to chair the parliamentary friends of both basketball and cricket, and continue my interest in sport.

Many sporting clubs service the people of Ku-ring-gai, and recently I had the privilege to attend a mixture of opening ceremonies and presentation days of various sport clubs in and around my electorate. They included the Old Barker Rugby Club, Ku-ring-gai Cubs, Ku-ring-gai Stealers Baseball and Softball Club, the Killara Croquet Club and the St Ives Junior Cricket Club, who are just some of the many different sporting clubs in my electorate.

It was wonderful to see some of the sporting infrastructure projects in my electorate being advanced. On 26 March I joined Karen Penrose, the President of the Old Barker Rugby Club, for the official launch of the renovated clubhouse at Turramurra Memorial Park. That project was supported by a New South Wales Government sporting grant totalling $863,000, and it was great to see the way in which the facilities at that oval were made more accessible to female athletes, which has been one of the deficiencies with our local sporting infrastructure. It is great to see the way in which the physical infrastructure is able to drive greater participation by women athletes. On the same day I was able to attend the Killara Croquet Club to see the completed club shelter, which was supported with a 2020 New South Wales Government grant. I congratulated President Douglas Greening and Vice President Ron Buist and acknowledged the late Hugh Bennett, who was a member of the club, who passed away last year shortly after achieving his 100th birthday.

The next day I joined President Adrian Steer of Ku-ring-gai Stealers Baseball and Softball Club at the Golden Jubilee Field in Turramurra for the opening of the batting cages, a project which Adrian has been incredibly passionate about. The club was able to secure a Community Building Partnership grant of about $29,000 to see those batting cages finally completed and available to the club. Later that afternoon I was able to go to the St Ives Junior Cricket Club presentation day for the under-16 and under-17 players at Hassell Park. It is great to see the enthusiasm of those young men and women athletes attaining well-earned recognition for participating in that sport. It was also great to speak to President Antony Horan, the rest of his committee, the players, the parents and the staff of that club.

That was a great weekend of engagement with our sporting clubs. We have had a lot of weather. Our sporting clubs have done it hard in terms of COVID and the way that it has put so much more pressure on the volunteers at the clubs. It was terrific to get out and see everyone. I know that the cricket season has been greatly interrupted by poor weather this summer, but it is great to see the friendships and community. That is what our sporting clubs are all about—developing men, women, boys and girls, and their socialisation skills, and their capacity to work together and get on with each other. That is not just good for their physical health but also important for mental health and developing social skills. Earlier this week we were able to turn the sod on the new indoor cricket facility at Mark Taylor Oval in Waitara. Jeremy Hook, the President of the Northern Suburbs Cricket Club, was there and the Mayor and councillors of Hornsby council. That is a $9 million project supported by the State Government. The Mark Taylor Oval is going to be one of the best ovals in Sydney. It has had a poor surface for a long time, and I think that is a great thing that the Government has supported.