House debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Constituency Statements

Cowper Electorate: Community Events

11:19 am

Photo of Pat ConaghanPat Conaghan (Cowper, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

I'd like to recognise the great work and the opportunities provided through All Abilities Futsal at Port Macquarie Sports Stadium. I recently met with Chris Whitfield and Cheree Risson, who run this fantastic program for people with disability and diagnosed mental health disorders. All Abilities Futsal started only three years ago as a once-a-week afternoon activity, and now they have more than 40 members and it runs every single day during the school week. The program works closely with the players and their families to ensure they can play safely and can connect with each other to achieve positive, long-lasting relationships.

Just watching the games, it was very easy to see what it means to the players. It was more than just a game of indoor soccer; it was a team, a sense of belonging and being part of a community. There was one young fellow there whose family, I was told, hadn't seen him run for 10 years, and he was out there running around in defence and in attack. There was another fellow there who, I was told and later saw confirmed, could kick the ball at 58 miles per hour. That was the kicking speed. So I made sure I stood behind him! This is great work done by Chris and Cheree , and I'd like to thank them and commend the players on the fantastic efforts that they all make.

I recently met with Les Mitchell, Sue Proust and Ted Giblin from the Hastings Birdwatchers. They expressed their concerns about the declines of common species of birds such as the willie wagtail, the laughing kookaburra, the galah, magpie-larks, welcome swallows, pied butcherbirds and crested pigeons. The Hastings Birdwatchers were established in 1993 and now have about 115 members. The principles of the Hastings Birdwatchers are to protect and promote the welfare of birds and their habitat. Indeed, groups such as the Hastings Birdwatchers advocate for birders to recognise their role in ensuring our native birds are here for our future generations by respecting and supporting the protection of birds and birdlife habitat. Groups such as the Hastings Birdwatchers carry out linear surveys, sometimes over decades, and devote their own time and pay their own costs for the benefit of birdlife and its habitat.

I'd like to thank them for the work that they do and for raising their concerns with me—in particular on the EPBC Act. I will continue, as their local member, to work with them in the future.


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