Page 1510 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 April 2013

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Sport is an important part of community life in Canberra. This Saturday I spent the morning at Belwest gala soccer day where both my children were playing. Not only were there plenty of young people learning and enjoying healthy habits that will last them a lifetime; parents, grandparents, volunteers, coaches, organisers and a few bored siblings were a broad cross-section of our community who were given a great reason to come together and mingle on a Saturday morning.

It is these community relationships which make sport so important to migrant and refugee families trying to establish new lives in Canberra. The harmony sports carnival is well supported by clubs and groups throughout Canberra to achieve this goal. This year’s carnival saw MARSS’ men’s, boy’s and girl’s harmony players basketball and soccer teams take on the AFP, the Rats, the Ramblers, the Eagles, PCYC, ANU and Companion House, all of whom brought their friends and family along to participate and enjoy the day.

The harmony sports carnival was not only a great community event; as a basketball fan, I was impressed by the quality of the play displayed by the teams. The skills of the harmony players have been greatly enhanced through the support of Basketball ACT and the exceptional efforts of harmony coaches Tony and Chris Jones and Rachael McNaughton.

Basketball ACT is also investing in the longevity of the program and the confidence of the participants by training up harmony players to take on positions of leadership as referees and coaches. I would like to commend MARSS on their fantastic program and pass on my congratulations to all of the players, teams, clubs and friends and family who came out for a great community day and a display of serious sporting skills.

Organ donation

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (6.48): I would like to speak tonight on the issue of organ donation. Members will be aware that the federal government in the last week announced that it will pay living organ donors the minimum wage for six weeks to help ease the financial burden of surgery and recovery. This initiative has been praised by organ donation agencies who have been campaigning for more than a decade for donors to be given financial support. It is important to note that the scheme does not amount to a financial incentive to donate, but rather provides support to those people who are making the tough personal decision to donate their kidney to help save another life. It is an important step in reforms to substantially lift organ and tissue donation rates.

Australia is a world leader for successful transplant outcomes. The number of organ donors and transplant recipients last year was the highest since national records began, with 1,052 people given a new chance of life. Still, around 1,600 people are on Australian organ transplant waiting lists. We know that around four out of five Australians are generally willing to become organ and tissue donors, but unfortunately nearly half of us do not know or are unsure of the donation wishes of our loved ones.

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