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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 August 2015) . . Page.. 2275 ..

I understand the Jamaican team has a Canberra connection with former Australian coach Jill McIntosh the team’s technical director. Jamaica has been conducting a short training camp in Canberra ahead of the event, culminating in a match with the Canberra Darters this afternoon at the ACT Netball Centre, bringing a small part of the Netball World Cup to our Canberra community.

I understand it has been a sell-out event, and fans will no doubt be enjoying some great netball. Right now while we are in the Assembly, they are out there at Lyneham with one of the world’s best netballers in action, Jamaican goal shooter, Romelda Aiken, taking to the court. Having one of the best netball teams in the world playing our ACT team is a real boost to local netball both for the aspiring young players in the stands or the senior athletes on the court getting a taste of the intensity of playing a world-class side.

The ACT has a strong and passionate netball community and the territory continues to invest in both grassroots netball participation and elite netball development. On any weekend during the winter season you will see thousands of young children out on the courts and parents on the sidelines cheering them on at Arawang, Belconnen, Tuggeranong, Canberra and south Canberra. The sport’s peak body, Netball ACT, receives $70,000 per annum in operational support through the sport and recreation grants program to help develop and promote the game while also fostering the elite pathway for local players. Netball ACT plays a key role in working with the district affiliates to improve coaching and officiating while supporting entry level participation for the next generation.

Netball ACT partners with the territory and Netball Australia to deliver a development program through the ACT Academy of Sport. Twenty-two athletes are currently supported through the ACTAS program, providing a stepping stone from junior local representative selection and state level programs into the elite pathway, including junior national representative teams as well as the Canberra Darters. Work has recently been completed to upgrade outdoor netball facilities at Charnwood and Stirling. Funded by the ACT government, the works are valued at $800,000 and $200,000 respectively and include new court bases, acrylic surfacing, fencing and lighting at Charnwood, with resurfacing, lighting and fence repairs at Stirling. The assistance of Netball ACT in coordinating works was greatly appreciated, and already these facilities have proven a wonderful benefit for our grassroots participants. A second suite of court and lighting works for facilities at Calwell, Deakin and Lyneham estimated to cost around $1 million will be delivered in 2015-16.

Netball’s continued popularity can be witnessed on the courts of Canberra every weekend. In recent years it has also been abundantly clear from the sell-out crowds at the arena every time the Diamonds have come to town just how popular the sport is with games against England in 2014 and the mighty Silver Ferns in our centenary year. I conclude by wishing the Diamonds well in the 2015 Netball World Cup. Let’s hope the home team can keep the cup here in Australia.

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