Thursday, 30 October 2014
Boothby Electorate: Sturt Baseball Club
I would like to speak on a commitment I took to the 2013 election for my electorate of Boothby. During the 2013 election I announced that a coalition government would provide $75,000 in federal funding to the Sturt Baseball Club to help pay for fly ball nets. I remember phoning the president of the club, Phil Robinson, and giving him that news, and he was delighted to hear it. Today I am pleased to say that commitment has been delivered.
The Saints have a long history, both in terms of South Australian baseball and also at Norman Reserve. This club was one of the earliest baseball clubs in South Australia and is now over 100 years old, having its genesis back in 1908. After a long run in the South Parklands, it moved to the Norman Reserve in 1961 and has been there ever since. Sturt Saints have a strong reputation as one of the dominant clubs and they also have a few claims to fame under their belt. They run a great T-ball competition, one that my family have been part of on Sunday mornings. It is also a home for the Bridgewater Bulls, which are involved in a winter baseball competition and do a lot of great work in the area of men's health. The first Australian to be signed to a professional contract in major league baseball came from the Saints. He was signed by the famous New York Yankees, and four other Sturt Saints have followed in his footsteps.
I think that it is fair to say that in recent years the risk of fly balls at the Norman Reserve has been somewhat of a contentious topic. The field's close proximity to local residences and roads raised concerns about the possibility of fly balls being hit out of the ground and causing danger to local homes and traffic. Equally, I think residents were concerned that the $150,000 needed to raise those nets would be coming out of their council rates. However, the coalition federal government felt that it was worth stumping up $75,000 and partnering with the South Australian government to fund those nets.
Being able to support local community and sporting groups is one of the great pleasures as a member of parliament. The coalition government is delivering on a range of its election promises for my electorate, both large and small. I have banged on long and hard about the need to upgrade South Road. That is the largest commitment, but there are a number of other ones in the area of the former Blackwood Hospital site and also the Kauri Parade Reserve. The new nets will reduce the risk of fly balls, deliver on the coalition government's commitment and allow the Sturt Saints to continue at Norman Reserve for many years to come.