Published on: October 2021
Lilly Carson and Hastings Valley Netball Association
Mrs LESLIE WILLIAMS (Port Macquarie) (11:53:10):
That this House:
(1)Congratulates Hastings Secondary College Port Macquarie Campus student, Lilly Carson, for being awarded the Hastings Valley Netball Association [HVNA] Umpire of the Year on 25 September 2021.
(2)Notes Lilly earned her National C Badge in early 2021 after impressing the officials with her umpiring skills and leadership qualities.
(3)Commends Lilly for her dedication and commitment which has seen her participate in the fast-paced Opens 1 Division.
(4)Acknowledges Lilly is regularly on the sidelines for her club, inspiring and motivating her peers to work as a team and perform at their absolute best.
In moving this motion I also congratulate a couple of other award winners from the Hastings Valley Netball Association. In particular I congratulate Meaghan Cook, an incredible woman. She is the principal of the Hastings Secondary College and used to be a student there. She is obviously an avid netballer as well. She was nominated by her under-12B Port Panthers Quokkas team and was awarded Coach of the Year. Many of the girls in this team had never played netball before and were so grateful to have Meaghan's support, encouragement and care. Knowing Meaghan very well, I am not surprised that she approached her netball coaching the same way she approaches her role as principal of one of the largest public schools in the Port Macquarie electorate. The individual growth of those girls and their ability to play as a team is a credit to Meaghan. I thank her for her contribution in supporting these young women as they start their netball career.
I also congratulate Alexandra King. Alex was named as the Hastings Valley Netball Association Member of the Year for 2021. She was responsible for bringing the EmpowerPlay program to our representative teams, engaging them in topics that have an impact on their lives now and in the future. Alex is also a Hastings Valley Netball Association development team coach, coaching and encouraging our representative players in the making. She is always keen to assist the association. I again congratulate and thank her for her contribution. Of course, then there is Lilly Carson, who is the subject of this motion. As it states, she was recognised as the Hastings Valley Netball Association Umpire of the Year. She has worked so hard on her umpiring over the past few seasons and it is a credit to her that she has earned her National C Badge. She is a regular on the sidelines for her club, including the fast-paced Opens 1 Division. She also picks up extra games whenever needed. I say well done to Lilly.
In my younger days I was an avid netballer, as many members in this House would have been, including my colleague opposite, the former shadow sport Minister. It is such a great pastime and social activity. It is an opportunity to bring out the best in young girls and women. No matter what their abilities are, it is just great to get them as part of a team. Of course, that does not happen in clubs or associations without those people who take on those executive positions and volunteer roles. I acknowledge the executive of the Hastings Valley Netball Association. The president is Catherine Glover. She has had a challenging couple of years trying to make sure that players got through their netball games. Sadly they did not quite get to grand finals this year, but we wish them all the very best for the future. Other members of the executive are secretary Rosemary Andrews, treasurer Jodie Burge, senior vice-president Natalie Jordan, junior vice-president Denise Hillier, senior registrar Carole Field and junior registrar Leonie Spencer.
The coach coordinator for the association is Michelle Marino. Publicity officer Linda Dewbery does an incredible job: The association has an amazing Facebook page and it always keeps club members up to date. Finally, the minutes secretary is Ann Heaton. I thank all the coaches across all the clubs and associations, as well as the managers, the umpires and the volunteers who run canteens. It is a pretty big deal on a Saturday morning. They have to get there early to set up the courts and start with those junior players, and they are still there very late in the afternoon. I thank all of them for making sure that our netball associations continue to thrive and inspire.
The Hastings Valley Netball Association is such a hardworking group of people. Many of the women who are on the executive committee have been there for a long time. They were there when I announced almost $1 million from the Liberal-Nationals Government for a major redevelopment of the Macquarie Park netball courts, which is our main netball centre in the electorate. It included an upgrade of the playing surfaces, new disabled access toilets and improvements to the clubhouse. At that time the president was Helen Miles, and I was joined by a whole range of local netball players. It was a really exciting day. The association had worked so hard on its application. It had a couple of not so successful applications but finally got it in the bag and was awarded over $900,000 through the ClubGrants Category 3 Scheme.
The netball facilities at Macquarie Park are well loved and well utilised. However, I think everybody agreed at the time that they were desperately in need of an upgrade. Due to issues with drainage some of the courts—particularly at the end of the set of courts—were unusable because the court surface was so deteriorated that the young women could not play on it for insurance reasons. It was really sad to see that because it meant that the number of games they could play was limited, but the redevelopment went ahead. Again, I give credit to the club. It was a major win for the local netball community. Our netball community has over 150 teams and over 1,200 players who use that facility. I am really pleased that the Government was able to support them through the ClubGrants Category 3 Scheme.
TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Mr Greg Piper):
I thank the member and note that many men are taking up playing netball because of the excellent game it is. I also note that we have the core of a wonderful Legislative Assembly team in the Chamber, who are contributing to debate on the motion—Evans, Wilson and Voltz. Indeed, I am really looking forward to joining the member for Port Macquarie!
Ms LYNDA VOLTZ (Auburn) (12:00:30):I speak to the motion moved by the member for Port Macquarie acknowledging the hard work of umpires. Firstly,I acknowledge the quarter of a million women and girls who play netball across New South Wales. Mr Temporary Speaker Piper, I think you will find that when members talk about women's sport, thismotion is it. Often when I come into this Chamber I hear some of my male colleagues expounding about women's sport, but what I do not see them doing is joining netballers to stand up for netball facilities. The member for Port Macquarie quite rightly pointed out how poor the facilities were in her electorate. That is the story of so many netball facilities. I will deal with that issue in more detail later. Obviously, I want to support the hardworking netball umpires and administrators who deal with a quarter of a million women and girls, which is a huge task
However,secondly, I pay my respects and the respects of my colleagues on the passing of Netball NSW's patron, Neita Matthews, who recently passed away. Neita was the patron and a life member of Netball NSW since the 1980s and entered the Netball Hall of Fame in 2011. Neita was patron of Netball NSW for a remarkable three decades. In keeping with the motion, Neita's dedication to netball was lifelong and she was the most respected netball umpire in the country. She had a relentless passion for the game, and was a tireless worker and mentor. She was the first Novocastrian and former Mayfield West Public School old girl to become an All Australiaumpire. She waselected Netball NSW Junior Vice-President in 1968 and was the New South Wales umpire coordinator for 17 years. In 1987 she became secretary of the Oceania Netball Association and held this position until 1991. To Neita's family, friends, the Eastwood Ryde Netball Association and everyone at Netball NSW, on behalf of all my colleagues I pass on our condolences. Neita's passing is a great loss to the Netball NSW family.
My electorate of Auburn has a proud and long history in netball. It has twice been the home of Netball NSW, firstly with an 11-court facility at Wyatt Park and then with the home of netball at Netball Central in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct. But as the member for Port Macquarie pointed out, the past two years have been an extraordinarily difficult time for netball across Australia and New South Wales, in particular. The structure that netball works on is that the competition pays for administration of the sport. In particular, the adult netball players subsidise the kids getting back on the court. Matters reached a very disturbing point last year when Netball NSW was within days of bankruptcy. Netball NSW continually made representations to the Office of Sport.
It is unfortunate that the Government could not pick up the Australian Institute of Sport [AIS] road map to get community sport back on the field because at the end of the day without that support we will lose some people to the sport forever. Overwhelmingly, we know that some of the people we will have lost are girls who will never come back, and that we also will have lost some umpires and administrators. Once a competition is stopped, it is a very difficult task to get it back up and get it going again. As I said at the start of my speech, quite often some of my colleagues talk about women's sport. A lot of it is lip-service because the big sports that women and girls play—netball and gymnastics—are the most underfunded in terms of discretionary grants made by this Government. We have just had an example of that in the Port Macquarie electorate and I know that in the electorate of the member for Heathcote netball players at Helensburgh had to pay from their own pocket the cost of a fence around their two netball courts because hoons were driving over the courts and ripping up the surface. This is what netball puts up with all the time.
Everybody knows how closely I examine sports grants and I know that netball organisations do not get consideration. It is a huge frustration when I hear about an organisation with 40,000 members applying for grants to put more lights on netball facilities with the intention of growing the game and I see grants going to Rugby Union facilities because the applicants say they will put one team on. I do not begrudge Rugby Union growing in popularity. I am a former chair of Women's Rugby Union, but let us be realistic about the sports that women and girls are playing. Gymnastics gets no consideration whatsoever yet it is the biggest sport available for women and girls. It is frustrating for the administrators of netball and gymnastics to constantly have to work on the smell of an oily rag when they see huge grants going to other areas of sport. It is a fact that there is no regional netball facility they can have a regional competition in one place outside the Sydney Basin. People from the bush have to come to Sydney to play netball. It is just crazy that there has not been any investment to the extent that netball deserves.
Netball is our women's professional sport. This is a sport that women have played since the 1950s and sixties in droves. In my own area the Parramatta Auburn Netball Association is still a huge association. It is impossible to go anywhere without seeing evidence of how big netball is.Why that is not reflected in discretionary grants is beyond me. It is also beyond me why regional netball facilities are not provided—likewise with gymnastics, which is an elite sport, an Olympics sport and a Commonwealth Games sport. There is practically no investment in gymnastic facilities. Nearly all gymnastic facilities across our State are privately run and gymnastics is the most expensive sport in New South Wales. It costs $2,000 for girls to be trained.
I am not saying that men and boys do not do gymnastics; obviously, they do and we have some great athletics emerging in New South Wales. But for women and girls, the most expensive sport is gymnastics. The Government does not invest in it.If members of this House want to talk about women's sport in the Chamber, here is the story: Netball, with its dedicated umpires and people like Neita, who have given their life to the sport, deserves a fair go from this Government.
Mr LEE EVANS (Heathcote) (12:07:30):
I congratulate the member for Port Macquarie on moving the motion, which motion congratulates Lilly Carson on her great accomplishment in the past year. Netball is a very, very important part of community sport. Obviously, everybody wants to ensure that there is a netball association of some kind. I thank the member for Auburn for mentioning, in particular, the Helensburgh Netball Club, which has struggled for years and years to try to keep vandals off their courts. I inspected the courts with a previous sports Minister and we walked across the courts. I am pleased to inform the House that significant funding has been allocated to Helensburgh to increase courts space and for renovation of the courts. Approximately 180 women and young girls play netball at Helensburgh and the courts are becoming busier and busier. There is a risk of liability to have players on some of the damaged courts' surfaces.
Some netball clubs I wish to mention in the context of this motion are the Bosco Netball Club, the Engadine Eagles, the Flames Netball Club at Menai, the Heathcote Netball Club, the Loftus Zircons Club, the Menai Hawks Netball Club and the St Patricks Netball Club. The Sutherland Shire Netball Association is the biggest netball association in the Southern Hemisphere. It has an enrolment of more men and girls playing netball than any other club in the Southern Hemisphere. Netball is a burgeoning sport for men and women. It is a testament to all communities that those volunteers come out week after week, month after month, year after year and run netball. Members would not want to come up against a netball association committee. They are the toughest people you could ever come up against; they know what they want and they usually get what they want.
As the member for Port Macquarie and the member for Auburn have said, netball is a burgeoning sport. I have been a long‑time advocate for women's sport and for getting more dressing rooms for women in sport. For example, in my electorate there is not one AFL club with a female change room, which is an absolute disgrace. That is partly council's issue, but as I have previously said in this Chamber we need to step up to make sure that women have the facilities to play any sport they wish to. In my electorate, the girls who play AFL have to change behind trees. That answers the question of why young women do not participate in sport after the age of about 13 or 14; it is just too embarrassing for them. I have been agitating for councils in my electorate to improve dressing facilities and change rooms for female participants of all sports. It does not matter what sport it is; there should be men's and women's dressing facilities.
I come back to Lilly Carson and her fantastic achievement. I acknowledge her work in inspiring and motivating her peers to work as a team and perform at their absolute best. That happens across New South Wales with young women and with the stalwarts of netball who have been doing that for decades. I congratulate the member for Port Macquarie on bringing the motion to the House.
Mr JIHAD DIB (Lakemba) (12:11:38):
I thank the member for Port Macquarie for bringing the motion to the House and I congratulate Ms Lilly Carson on her great achievement. It is a great opportunity to get up and say a few things about netball and my experiences and the local community's experiences. I thank all the members who spoke before me. The member for Auburn said that there are 250,000 players and people involved in netball; what a fantastic thing.
I was thinking about netball, and my kids have actually been through netball like so many others. When I was a little bit younger, I played in a mixed netball competition. It was much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I really struggled with it, and I take my hat off to all netballers for their skill and talent. My kids started off in the junior netballers; I think the youngest started when she was four. My eldest is now nearly 21 and is still involved, playing with her friends. Obviously that is less competitive and more of a social thing. Over the years I have been to my fair share of netball games on a Saturday morning.
I know the motion is about one particular umpire, but I thank all of the volunteers. Of all the community sports I have witnessed, the level of organisation and structure in netball is phenomenal. I learnt that the hard way when I had to be the manager for one particular game because the manager and the coach were away. I was the dope who put his hand up and said, "Yes, I will do it. No problems." But I actually forgot to return the scoresheet, and there was nothing more embarrassing than when they said, "Will the manager for such-and-such team return the scoresheet? We cannot start until you do that." I did the walk of shame, but I saw the wonderful organisation, the sense of volunteering and the lifelong involvement in netball. Many people who are involved in the administrative side, the volunteering and running the local clubs had obviously done the same thing as my daughters and started when they were four or five.
The march‑past is something to behold; the first time I saw a march‑past, I could not believe it. It just reinforces the commitment, the organisation, the sense of friendliness and the camaraderie. It does get competitive, and I started seeing that when my kids got into the 17 years and above age bracket, but there was an incredible camaraderie between the players. I also loved seeing the many players who gave up their time to coach, referee or help out in the canteen. I am really pleased to see that more males are getting involved in netball as well. It is an excellent and fantastic sport and it is quite difficult. As I said, I really struggled at netball, and I like to think that I am reasonably athletic.
It was also really good to see two New South Wales teams, the Swifts and the Giants, get into the final of this year's Super Netball. While the Swifts may have won this year, between the member for Auburn and I, we think that maybe the Giants could be the ones to watch next year. More people are getting involved in netball. I want to see it more available on free‑to‑air TV during good timeslots and I want to make sure that funding is available. We rely a lot on volunteering and goodwill, but I am sure that all members in this House can agree that we should contribute to help things get better, whether it is the change rooms, as the member for Heathcote said, better facilities, supporting the volunteers and making life easier for them or encouraging people to participate.
One thing we have missed during this pandemic, among so many other things, is community sport. It really brings the community together. When I go and watch the Bankstown City Netball Association or the Inner West Netball Association, which cover my electorate, I love to see how it brings people together who are new to the country and who come from a variety of different cultures. I congratulate Lilly Carson again and thank the volunteers. I thank the member for Port Macquarie for bringing the motion to the House.
Ms FELICITY WILSON (North Shore) (12:15:46):
I contribute to the motion put to the House by the member for Port Macquarie. I thank her for bringing the motion because netball is, as other members have said, the game for girls and women. It is the most popular sport for girls and women. As a former netballer—I say former, but once I recover the brief athleticism and strength that I previously had when I did play, I will hopefully be a netballer again in the future—netball is such an exciting sport. It requires a great deal of fitness, coordination and teamwork. Girls and women across the State, whether they are elite players or playing in community sport or in the backyard, have the opportunity to get involved in netball and learn great skills and be involved in their community. We know that community team sports are part of the fabric of local communities across New South Wales, including in my own electorate. In my electorate, netball remains the single largest sport for girls. We have a lot of very large sporting clubs across the North Shore, but netball is the biggest for girls. Yet, as we have heard from other speakers, it is often a struggle to get the investment, resources and infrastructure that more girls and women need to play the sport that they love.
I am pleased to support the motion and recognise people, like Lilly Carson, who have had achievements in netball. I know the New South Wales Government provides funding to sports clubs to increase participation in sport. My community has been the beneficiary of some funds that have targeted women and that have been invested in netball in particular. One of the teams in my electorate is the Mosman Netball Club. About 600‑odd netballers descend on Mosman's Drill Hall courts every week to play, train and shoot some hoops. The New South Wales Government provided $150,000 in funding for Mosman Netball Club to install lighting for the courts. When the courts were built by the council they were not built to competition‑grade standard, and so competition netball cannot be played on them. That is probably a matter for another time. But by putting in lights in what is a very constrained geographic area with not a lot of land for new courts, the time for training is extended, which encourages more participation from different age groups and interested players. We spent years negotiating the installation of lights, getting them funded and working through the process because the courts are on former Federal defence land. We experienced a lot of planning constraints and it was a hugely significant and challenging process.
I thank the Harbour Trust and Mosman Council for their work. Most importantly, I thank the Mosman Netball Club and particularly the parents who are the advocates and volunteers supporting infrastructure contributions for the women and girls in my electorate. The new lighting for the three outdoor netball courts will make them safer, more reliable and more accessible. The lights are also a boost for the Mosman Netball Club during winter, even though there was not much training during the winter just past. I particularly thank club president Vicki Albert, former club secretary Georgina Paynter and Councillor Jacqui Willoughby from Mosman Council, who is a long‑time netball player and netball parent, for their unwavering support for the project. I also thank the committee volunteers as well as the players and members of the club.
Mosman Netball Club is also part of the Northern Suburbs Netball Association, which includes a number of our local girls high schools and the seniors North Sydney Netball Club—the club that I used to play for when I was fitter and healthier. I am excited about what the Northern Suburbs Netball Association does. They have already had sold-out clinics to welcome kids back to netball. They do a lot of work to get donations from the community, including for south-west Sydney throughout the pandemic and for breast cancer through Pink Day fundraisers. The girls and women who are players in the organisational structure of netball are real leaders in our community. I thank the member for Port Macquarie for moving this motion.
Mrs LESLIE WILLIAMS (Port Macquarie) (12:19:59):
In reply: I thank all of the members who have contributed to the debate this morning: the member for Auburn, the member for North Shore, the member for Heathcote and the member for Lakemba. I join the member for Auburn in acknowledging the incredible contribution of Neita Matthews, OAM, to Netball NSW. Given the contribution she has made over such a long time—decades and decades—it is no wonder that she was considered worthy of life membership in 1980 and entered the Hall of Fame in 2011. Extraordinarily, she has been the patron of Netball NSW since 1987. I also acknowledge her passing but, in doing so, I acknowledge her contribution to Netball NSW. I thank the member for Heathcote for sharing some of his stories of netball and the role that it plays in his community. I thank the member for North Shore, who talked about some of the improvements that have been made to the netball facilities at Mosman. I also thank the member for Lakemba. We forgive him for not getting the scorecard right. He will get there. It clearly demonstrates he needs more practice at it, so get back out on the sidelines and get it right next time.
Ms Lynda Voltz:
He can be our orange boy next time.
Mrs LESLIE WILLIAMS:
Yes. I also acknowledge his comment that often the people in executive roles in netball associations, including Netball NSW, have been playing and involved with netball for their entire life. I know that is how it was for me: I started netball when I was knee-high. My mum was in the canteen and she coached and umpired. I think we all have stories like that. He talked about the march past, and I have to agree that they really are a sight to be seen each year. I missed it this year, but as a local member—and I know others in this House probably share this thought—gosh, it is a terrible job to have to judge it. I always try to fob it off to someone else—to suggest that some parents there could come together and make a decision. You do not want to upset any of the clubs, because they just put so much effort into them. They are to be commended for those efforts.
I acknowledge Netball NSW, because they play such an important role in making sure that netball continues as such a popular sport across our State. Their annual report last year will tell you that there are almost 100,000 registered members with Netball NSW, but there are probably even more who play the game but are not registered members. That is a huge group of people to support through the administration of the club. In closing, I also acknowledge the support that the Government has provided to netball as an organisation and as a pastime through Active Kids. That has been such a successful program. Particularly when a number of young people in a family are playing netball, it is quite a challenge. As the member for Auburn said, it is quite a costly exercise to play those sorts of sports. Active Kids provides $200 vouchers for parents, guardians and carers of school-enrolled children to use towards sports such as netball. Active Kids contributed $5.57 million to netball in 2021 and since its inception has contributed $24.29 million. That is quite impressive. I thank all of the people involved in netball across our State. My congratulations to Lilly Carson on her achievements.
TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Mr Lee Evans):
The question is that the motion be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.