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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . .

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Melinda Ingram from the Vikings touch football association took out the Sportsmans Warehouse HR Heher Shield award for outstanding individual senior sporting achievement. Melinda has represented Australia twice, most recently at the 2015 touch world cup as a member of the over-27 women's team. Melinda also volunteers as a coach and continues to work on player development within her club locally.

In addition to the major award categories, a large number of young sporting talents received sports scholarships provided by the Vikings group of clubs. These scholarships continue the tradition of supporting amateur and emerging professional sports talents not just from the Tuggeranong area but from across the ACT. The kind of support that the grassroots sporting organisations receive from licensed clubs in the ACT, such as Vikings, helps make the social and physical benefits of being involved in our community accessible to all Canberrans and goes a great distance to building the social fabric that is so important to all of us.

As one of the members for Brindabella, it is always great to see the variety of sporting codes and talents that are on show within my electorate. I would like to again congratulate everyone that was nominated in each of the categories on the night. I again pay my congratulations to each of the winners, but also give a very special thank you to the Vikings club, which again hosted the awards and which also are the major sponsor of most of the clubs involved, and to the corporate sponsors, without whose support it would be difficult to have prizes or for the awards night to be held. Once again, my congratulations to all involved in the 2015 Vikings Sports Awards.

Koalas—habitat protection

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Corrections, Minister for Education, Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs and Minister for Road Safety) (5.00): Today I rise to deliver some good news in the Assembly and share it with members. Last week on 1 March, the New South Wales environment minister announced the establishment of four new flora reserves on the New South Wales far south coast which will provide protection to the last known far south coast koala population. Members will wonder why this is relevant to the Assembly, but I will come to that point in a little.

The four areas of state forest are in coastal forests between Bermagui and Tathra; Tanja, Mumbulla, Murrah and Bermagui south of the river have now been declared flora reserves, not only protecting the vital koala habitat but also priceless heritage for the Yuin people, the traditional owners of the land.

Almost 12,000 hectares will be added to the New South Wales forest reserve system to be managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which will significantly boost habitat connectivity throughout the south-east coastal forests. These reserves will support not only the koala population but also 25 threatened species, including the long-nosed potoroo, the yellow-bellied glider and the powerful owl.

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