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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 August 2010) . . Page.. 3807 ..

The Woden Valley Soccer Club is so large because it represents the merging of a number of clubs. It is a real institution in the Woden Valley. There are literally tens of thousands of kids who have been through the Woden Valley Soccer Club over the last few years.

I also want to say something about what is happening in another way in terms of junior sport down at mpowerdome near where I live. Some of the work that is being done there by Gail and her team I think is sensational. I think they provide a really unique facility in the ACT. There is the capacity there for indoor tennis and a lot of other indoor sports. They particularly focus on an innovative way of helping children to develop really good skills.

The mpower minis program is for three and four-year-olds to develop fundamental movement skills to prepare children for participation in all sports and physical activity. Special equipment is used to introduce striking skills. This is done through a variety of fun activities. This is some of the great work that is being down with the mpower minis. It is about really empowering a lot of children.

I think that mpower generally has a holistic view. It is not just about sport; it is about a lot more than that. It is about empowering young kids and giving them some of the skills that they need. Getting some of those motor skills is critical to development. It is critical to how kids function at school; it is critical to how they function within their communities; it is critical to some of the issues that I talked about earlier—issues around health and wellbeing, issues around childhood obesity.

As I said, at a time when we are seeing growing rates of childhood obesity, at a time when, for many families, it is difficult to have the space for the kids to run around and play sport at home, these organisations and these sporting facilities become even more important than they have been in the past.

We can go through some of the other sports—the mass participation sports in Canberra. I refer to softball, netball, rugby league, rugby union, touch footy, basketball and the whole range. I did want to pay tribute also to the Tuggeranong Buffaloes. I know, Mr Assistant Speaker, that you have a long association with them. Michael and Joel Monaghan, amongst others, have come through the Tuggeranong Buffaloes program. The Buffaloes have been around for almost as long as Tuggeranong. They are now 35 years old. Of course, Tuggeranong was only really established in the early 1970s. So Tuggeranong Buffaloes Leagues Club has been a great contributor to the Tuggeranong community over many years. We have seen some really good footballers go on to bigger and better things from Tuggeranong Buffaloes. They have made a great contribution to Tuggeranong and the ACT.

I did want to pay tribute to one more team that was my nemesis when I played basketball. I refer to the Weston Creek Woden Dodgers Basketball Club. The Weston Creek Woden Dodgers are one of the oldest basketball clubs in Canberra. People do not realise what a massive participation sport basketball is in Canberra. It is still amongst the largest participation sports.

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