Page 1881 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 May 2013

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Belconnen skate park

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (4.40): I rise this evening to talk about an oft-maligned sport but one that provides a great outlet for young people, especially in Belconnen—the local skateboarding and BMX scene.

Ms Burch: Do we ever see you on a skateboard?

MS BERRY: I will get to that. I know that the kids and teens who get around the Belconnen skate park will think this speech is a little bit “hesh”, which for those uninitiated in the language means “uncool”, but as a parent of a nine-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl, I think it is worth highlighting the good things about this subculture.

On 23 March I took my kids down to the Belconnen skate park—the largest skate park in the southern hemisphere, and, according to Skateboarding Australia, the only skate park that can be seen from outer space—for the Skateboarding Australia streetwise clinics. These clinics are all about getting beginners into skateboarding and developing the skills of those already riding and they are taught by dedicated local skateboarders.

I was pleased to see in 2012 as part of the sportenary program that the funding for the ACT hub was doubled by the ACT government so that the hub could expand their streetwise and cruiser clinics. This decision by the ACT government was pretty fresh, and I hope to see that this kind of funding is continued into the future. The guys responsible for the upkeep of the local skate parks are a fantastic group of volunteers who are really great with young people. They show them all the tricks, the importance of safety and how to negotiate the parks when older skaters are using them.

Luke Brown is the ACT skate hub manager and he has been, and continues to be, a fantastic ambassador for the sport here in Canberra. Luke was responsible for getting the community together to secure a federal grant of $2 million and an ACT government grant of $2.2 million to rebuild the Belconnen skate park and establish a new skate park in Woden. Luke is a local public servant and I think he displays the values that make us proud of our public servants here in the ACT.

Mr Assistant Speaker, my own efforts in the privacy of my backyard would never be described as “steazy”. Nonetheless, I will continue to give it a go. The ACT skate hub has a great program of activities, and I highly recommend all my Labor colleagues and, indeed, those in the opposition who might be game enough to give it a go, to take part in a game of skate at the Tuggeranong skate park, which will be happening this Saturday afternoon as part of the sportenary program in the ACT.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 4.43 pm until Tuesday, 14 May 2013, at 10 am.

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