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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 2006) . . Page.. 3074 ..

I would like to commend the organisers, the Croatian Studies Foundation, SBS Radio and the representatives of the Croatian embassy and the Bosnian embassy. I believe the Bosnian ambassador was there. It was great to see them attending. It was an excellent evening. Once again, I congratulate the organisers on putting on the evening.

Sport and recreation—football

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.51): Mr Speaker, we know how important regular exercise and healthy activity are for all of us, particularly our children. It is vital that our children develop healthy habits early in their lives to help prevent the obesity epidemic that is increasingly affecting our population. That is why I was so pleased last Saturday to be able to attend two junior football presentations—the game formerly known as soccer.

The first was for Gungahlin United at Nicholls, where I saw a large number of young children receive their trophies. Boys and girls as young as four proudly lined up with their team mates to receive mementoes of their season. In the afternoon I had the opportunity to congratulate the young men and women from Belsouth as they received trophies recognising their achievements.

Both clubs record growing numbers and interest, with Gungahlin United registering over 100 new players each season. The club now has 380 juniors and 130 senior players on its books and expects the numbers to be well over 1,000 for the 2007 season. Officials from both clubs also advised me that there has been a significant increase in the number of girls and young women that are showing interest in playing the world game. I commend the clubs on the work that they are doing to encourage female participation.

Apart from the opportunity to participate in healthy outdoor activity that football provides for our young people, the clubs also facilitate the families and other members of the community coming together to support their local community. Parents and officials tell me that they very much enjoy their involvement in coaching, training, committee work and supporting their children when they play.

When I first arrived in Canberra in 1977, I looked for a way to find out how my new community ticked, how to get to know people and how to become involved in my new home. I chose to get involved in helping establish a new community service organisation, which we all now know as Communities@Work. However, my family or I may well have chosen to become involved in a local sporting club.

On the weekend many parents from Nicholls and Hawker told me that participating in voluntary activities with their club was important in helping them make new friends. Additionally, they commented on their belief that moving into a new community carried with it a level of responsibility to that community. They said that they saw their involvement in their club as a way that they can fulfil that responsibility.

I think that all of us would agree that governments cannot work alone in building the social, economic and cultural infrastructure of a community. It must also have the support of business and, most importantly, the support of the committee itself. What I

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