House debates

Thursday, 28 October 2010


Newcastle Electorate: Youth Achievements

4:46 pm

Photo of Sharon GriersonSharon Grierson (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I acknowledge the member for Fisher’s comments. It is a day for Daniel and for children everywhere in Australia, and I applaud the courage of his parents.

I rise also to acknowledge the spirit and dedication of the youth of Newcastle, in particular five young Novocastrians who have excelled in their chosen fields: the captain of the under-19 Young Socceroos, Ben Kantarovski; Jessica Legge, from Lambton High School; Marni Jackson, from Renew Newcastle: and the X Factor brothers, Luke and Joel O’Dea. Each of these individuals has proven themselves to be a strong role model in our local community and beyond.

Our Young Socceroos went down 3-2 in the final of the Asian Football Confederation under-19 championships in China earlier this month, and I would like to congratulate them for their achievement. Although the Socceroos were unlucky not to come home with the trophy, the winning side from North Korea had conceded just one goal prior to the final, and the final score is a testament to our team’s tenacity. While I commend the hard work of the entire team, I want to pay particular tribute to the captain, Ben Kantarovski, from my electorate in Newcastle. In The Roar was written:

… captain Ben Kantarovski was a colossus throughout the entire tournament …

But Ben has been a colossus, both on the field and off, since he was signed to the Newcastle Jets A-League squad at the age of 15. His commitment to both his studies and his sporting achievements is highly commendable, and he is a role model for the young people of Newcastle. Ben completed the HSC last year, sitting a number of exams just before taking the field in A-League matches against the Brisbane Roar and the Central Coast Mariners. Ben will lead the Young Socceroos in Columbia next year, and I wish him and the team the very best of luck. I also would like to wish the new owner of the Newcastle Jets, Nathan Tinkler, well, and I thank him for supporting the Jets and creating opportunities for the people of Newcastle, now and into the future.

Jessica Legge is an example of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Last year Jessica was the NSW swimming team captain at the School Sport Australia championships, where she placed 1st in the under-19 categories of the 400 metres individual medley, the 200 metres individual medley, the 200 metres butterfly, the 200 metres breaststroke, the 100 metres breaststroke, and the 50 metres breaststroke—a very flexible and successful swimmer. She also placed 4th in the under-19 50 metres and 100 metres butterfly and she was subsequently awarded the School Sport Australia championship award in swimming. I was pleased last year to present Jessica with one of my Commonwealth sport achievement awards after she won a gold medal in the 200 metres individual medley at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. This year she was the 17 years age champion for Lambton High, City Zone, the Hunter School Sports Association and the New South Wales Combined High Schools Sports Association. At school this year Jessica was a mentor and activity organiser as part of the Premier’s Sporting Challenge girls in sport program. Jessica is not only achieving herself; she is helping others to be active and creating an environment in which they also can achieve. But it has not been easy for her, and Jessica has been training for around 18 hours each week for many years. Well done.

But it is not just in the sporting arena that Novocastrians are kicking goals. Renew Newcastle has recently been awarded the best organisation award as part of the 2010 Newcastle Business Club awards. Marni Jackson accepted the award on their behalf, and I would like to put on the record my congratulations to Renew Newcastle and, particularly, to her. As the Renew Newcastle website has said:

Marni Jackson has wielded the safety pins, the spreadsheets, the gaffa tape and the handkerchiefs for a number of Newcastle-based creative projects.

For many years she has worked hard to instil a sense of culture in the heart of Newcastle, activating over 40 empty shops and spaces with creative industries and arts related activities. Thank you, Marni.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the achievement of the songwriter and musician duo, brothers Luke and Joel O’Dea, who have made it into the top 12 of the X Factor. Joel has said:

We bring our own thing to the table, we have an identity and we have songs.

I am very proud to represent the people of Newcastle who, like Joel and Luke, continue to bring something different, something real, to the table. My electorate has a distinct identity, a distinct culture of egalitarianism and opportunity, and I place on the record my congratulations and pride at the achievements of all Novocastrians.

In the last few seconds I have I would also like to congratulate The Junction Public School on its 150 years of education, serving children and serving excellence. I want to thank them for all the work they put into the celebration last week.


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