Published: 27 March 2020

Tuesday 17 March, 2020

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, late last year, a community-minded and exceptional local football club won the Good Sports Club of the Year for 2019. The Redpa Football Club from far north-west Tasmania in my electorate of Murchison was crowned Good Sports Club of the Year. The club received this award for inspiring positive change and building a healthy family-friendly club. They received $1000 to mark their achievement.

To receive this honour, clubs have to demonstrate their commitment to building healthy and inclusive environments, where members look to work for each other in the areas of alcohol and tobacco management, safe transportation, healthy eating, mental health and positive spectator behaviour.

Redpa Football Club President Shane Hine, when accepting this award, credited the Good Sports program for its support in making the rural club the inclusive place it is today. When speaking about the award, he noted that for the past 20 years, the club has been working towards shifting its culture, and the Good Sports program has helped them move towards this goal in leaps and bounds.

Having reached the highest level of the Good Sports program, the Redpa Football Club holds regular alcohol-free events, provides safe transport options at events where alcohol is consumed, and has implemented a smoking-management policy.

Redpa Football Club goes above and beyond to encourage participation. For example, they work towards this by running free buses to and from training, and providing dinner for junior players. Erin Franks [tbc], another member of the club, also spoke about the work the club had done to achieve this recognition, including making the club truly family-friendly, inclusive, safe and fun.

As with many country football clubs, drinking culture can make the club less family-friendly. This is one area in which the club has done a lot of work to promote a safe and family-friendly, healthy place to play and socialise. Stuart Guard [tbc] is currently the club's head trainer, and is a past club and association president. The current president, Shane Hine, is also the club's delegate to the Circular Head Football Association, and has a lot to do with that organisation.

Clearly, Mr President, grassroots football is the lifeblood of many regional areas, and a focus on participation at this level is vital for the future of football in this state - especially if there is ever to be a statewide team. I commend the work of all players, volunteers and supporters of the regional football clubs and sincerely congratulate the Redpa Football Club on winning this prestigious award late last year. Changing culture in areas such as this is often very challenging and this great achievement should be recognised and celebrated. I wish the Redpa Football Club all the best for the 2020 season, whatever that may look like.

In addition to this great news, Wynyard Football Club President, Ken Jackson [TBC], is working on a new football development program for junior football, the Circular Head football development program. This is partly in response to the loss of the Smithton team. The purpose of this initiative is to tackle some of the disadvantages junior footballers and coaches face living in rural or remote communities in accessing regular and high-quality development opportunities. The program's overarching goal is to provide motivated male and female junior footballers between the ages of 11 and 16 residing in the region with regular access to high-quality development opportunities with a focus on the provision of specialist and specific coaching and learning opportunities. The coaching and learning will address a collection of on and off-field skills that players need to reach their full potential as footballers and people, generally. It is not only about footy.

In this context, another key focus will be the facilitation of increased levels of enjoyment of a commitment to the game, with the goal of more young people in the region becoming and remaining engaged in the game. The program will provide individualised assessments, coaching and feedback, along with small and larger group training and education sessions. These sessions will target the key football, physical, psychological and lifestyle-based attributes that underpin the development of confidence and competence on and off the field. These sessions will cover on-field skills as well as the off-field skills, including characteristics of a winning attitude, parenting a successful athlete, adolescent mental health awareness and several other health and wellbeing subjects.

I commend the Redpa Football club and Ken Jackson, for his work on this program for the Wynyard Football Club, and for their important work in a dedication to junior development and safe environments. Grassroots football is so important to our communities, as is the importance of a family-friendly football clubs.

I appreciate this season for football is going to be significantly challenging everywhere. It is difficult for the fans, families and the players, but we do need to work together as a community to work through this challenging issue with COVID-19. It is serious because a lot of football clubs include older members of the community who support them and volunteer for them. Whilst it is inconvenient, I support the decisions that are being made. I wish these clubs all the best. It is tough in the best of times and this will make it tougher.

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