Recently we have seen Australian sporting teams on the world stage in various codes with varying success. Our national interest in sport is something to be celebrated at the local level. Sport can foster a healthy and active lifestyle which is to the benefit of all communities.
The Federal Government announced as a part of the 2014-2015 Budget a $100 million Sporting Schools initiative to encourage school children to participate in sport before, during or after school.
More than 850,000 children across Australia are set to benefit from the initiative and I encourage schools in the Parkes Electorate to become involved.
The Sporting Schools initiative will begin from 1 January 2015 and will help schools run activities associated with up to 35 major sports for three terms each year.
It is expected that the grants will average around $1700 each and will allow teachers to access training guides and coaching courses for the benefit of students.
The Sporting Schools initiative will also focus on linking schools with their local sporting clubs. In regional Australia our local sporting clubs and organisations play a very important role in fostering a sense of belonging and cohesion. It is essential that we implement policies to foster healthy and active lives in our children as we look to tackle obesity in our communities.
The Coalition Government has now marked 6 months without a successful people smuggling operation. In the same time period under the Labor Government’s open borders policy there were 190 boat arrivals with more than 12,773 people on board.
It was clear that something needed to change in border protection policy. There were budget blow outs of $11 billion, more than 1000 lives lost at sea under the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Governments. More than 800 boats arrived in Australia carrying more than 50,000 people under Labor’s watch. This number included 8000 children who had made the perilous journey across the seas.
Operation Sovereign Borders is allowing the Australian Government to resettle 20,000 refugees through the Special Humanitarian Programme. These refugees have escaped from desperate situations and have waited many years for a successful application to come to countries like Australia.
Australians want to offer support to refugees through resettlement in Australia and a chance for a better life. However, the Coalition believes that an orderly approach is needed for immigration to our country. There is still more work that is needed in this very difficult policy area but the effectiveness of Operation Sovereign Borders cannot be discounted.