House debates

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Statements by Members

Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria

1:37 pm

Photo of Katie AllenKatie Allen (Higgins, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Vision Australia estimates that there are 384,000 people in Australia who are blind or who have low vision. For these people, participating in sport is often hugely difficult as few sports are adapted to be inclusive of people who aren't fully sighted. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Maurice Gleeson, the president of Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria, in my electorate of Higgins. We discussed the work that this organisation is doing to deliver transformative change to the lives of blind and low-vision Victorians through sport. Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria started 10 years ago with the mission of making sport more accessible and inclusive. They set out not only to promote traditional low-vision sports such as swish, goalball and blind cricket—I'm happy to explain to anyone what those are—but also to adapt sports like tennis and football to be accessible to the blind and vision impaired. One example is the organisation's swimming program, which, through tactile education, gives blind and vision impaired children the ability to learn to swim and then more often than not to join their fully sighted local swim team. The organisation seeks to continue to change any perception in the sports community from what we can do for the blind and vision impaired to what we can do with them. I am proud to support the work being done by Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria.