House debates

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Constituency Statements

Castec Rural Pioneers

4:12 pm

Photo of Tony PasinTony Pasin (Barker, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I've spoken previously in this place about the success of the Castec Rural Pioneers basketball team in Mount Gambier. In fact, last year the team won their third championship in four years. Their fifth consecutive conference crown and third championship win in four years places them as arguably the most successful South Australian sporting team competing on a national stage. After such a strong record of success, and with a proud and parochial south-east community backing them in, it was devastating to learn that Basketball Australia had made the decision to abolish the South East Australian Basketball League, or SEABL, in which the Castec Rural Pioneers of Mount Gambier play.

The Pioneers are the only team in South Australia at this level. I should also point out they're the only sporting team in my electorate that plays on the national stage. Of course, this is one level below the Australian national league. There is no other state based league to join for the Pioneers in South Australia. The SEABL encompasses games played in Mount Gambier and throughout Victoria, Tasmania, North Albury and Canberra. The decision to abolish the league was made by Basketball Australia in early August, with no plan around what would happen to those teams based outside of Victoria. Victorian teams will be invited to enter the newly established Victorian league, but there remains uncertainty about what will happen to teams such as the Pioneers. I understand that there are three Tasmanian teams and an Albury-Wodonga team that are also unsure of their future. The Pioneers are a huge part of my community. The uncertainty around their future is affecting the whole community, from the leadership of the club to the players, the volunteers and the supporters. As the Pioneers are an integral part of encouraging talented South Australian basketball players to move through from grassroots sporting clubs into the national league, I suspect it will have far-reaching consequences for the game in South Australia.

Just as we don't want talented South Australians moving interstate for jobs, we don't want to see our sporting talent leave either. The Pioneers have been responsible for seeing very talented young Australians move from Adelaide to Mount Gambier to stay, and they have stayed permanently. It is a great thing for a region like mine and many regions around the country.

It is an ill-thought-out decision by Basketball Australia, and the consequences are reverberating throughout the Mt Gambier community and the state. Quite frankly, I'm disgusted by the actions of Basketball Australia. They should think more about grassroots basketball in Australia.

A division having been called in the House of Representatives

Sitting suspended from 16:15 to 16:30