Adjournment speech- Stronger Communities Program

Mr VASTA (Bonner) (19:55): Mr Speaker, I congratulate you on your recent elevation to that office. It is with great pleasure tonight that I inform the House and the community and sporting groups in my electorate of Bonner of the fantastic opportunities available to them through the Stronger Communities Program. The coalition are committed to local communities. We understand the importance of creating opportunities to support local community and sporting groups, and that is precisely what we are doing through this suite of grants. In the last few weeks, I have had the privilege of being present at the openings of the Mount Gravatt Men's Shed's incredible new extension, the Gumdale and District Progress Association's new car park and the St Paul's Uniting Sporting Club's new clubhouse.

These wonderful upgrades will serve the local community for many years to come and are evidence of this government's commitment to sporting and local community groups. The Stronger Communities Program gives our local community the opportunity to apply for small capital works grants to upgrade areas across Bonner, such as town halls, sporting infrastructure like turf, change rooms, canteens and so on. The applications have now opened, and the Bonner community steering committee has been established to help assess worthy applications, so I am encouraging organisations in Bonner to get on board now. I have already received wonderful feedback from local group executive members who have wholeheartedly thrown their support behind this initiative and are eager to apply. Eligibility requirements have been designed to be simple and wide ranging, meaning there is scope for a huge variety of groups and clubs to apply. To be eligible, groups need to be listed as not for profit and have an ABN.

There is no doubt about the wide-ranging benefits of engaging positively with local groups. In Bonner, sporting clubs and community organisations are the beating heart of the community. They offer a space to fill the void of social isolation, they provide a platform to allow our volunteers to showcase their skills and, most importantly, they are eyes and ears on the ground, plugged into the needs and aspirations of my constituency in an intimate and ongoing way. I rely on my community groups as a source of information and to fill the cracks that people can slip through at times. This is why it is so important to adequately support them. I am proud to be a part of a government that asks those who know best how to spend their tax dollars, rather than having a paternalistic approach that tells them what they ought to spend their tax dollars on. I am also proud to support the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, who recognises the importance of our local groups and has worked hard to make sure they are looked after. The assistant minister understands the value of our local community.

I am really excited to see the support of government being extended to the hardworking volunteers of Bonner. For those Bonner groups and clubs interested in applying, please contact my office for more information on how to apply and details of upcoming information sessions that I will be hosting. Debate interrupted.

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