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In Parliament

 

Adjournment - Yarra Junior Football League

   Thursday, 31 October 2019

Mr T SMITH (Kew) (17:30:09):


My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. The action I seek from the minister for the environment is to relocate the Yarra Junior Football League home ground and headquarters to the seed farm site at 165 Templestowe Road, Templestowe. Parks Victoria is the owner of the seed farm site, and the North East Link Project itself recommended to a number of bodies that this land be acquired for active recreation for the purposes of the North East Link Project. This is a very important issue for the North East Link and indeed the Yarra Junior Football League.

The Yarra Junior Football League is the largest footy league in the country, with 33 clubs, 508 teams and 11 000 players, including 3000 girl players. I think that is a very important point that I am making here. The Yarra Junior Football League was the first junior football league in Victoria to support young girls playing Australian Rules football.

It is very important to my electorate of Kew. There are thousands of players in Boroondara, particularly in my electorate of Kew. The Yarra Junior Football League currently enjoys facilities at Bulleen Park, with one AFL regional-sized oval, a grandstand, offices for 12 staff, winter use of two junior-sized AFL ovals and shared access to a fourth oval at Koonung Reserve. Obviously the North East Link is an important project, which the football league supports, but the honest answer is that they need somewhere to go. They are being told that they need to move to a site in Ivanhoe, and that site honestly is miles away from where the majority of players and their families live, particularly in Boroondara.

All credit to Jeff Hooper, who is the president of the Yarra Junior Football League, for the advocacy that he has shown on behalf of his football league this week. The idea that Ford Park in Ivanhoe is an appropriate home for this football league is I think questionable. The league has made a number of representations to the Andrews Labor government.

I do not believe they have received an appropriate response. I think they need a meeting with either the minister for the environment, the Minister for Transport Infrastructure or the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events. I think we are all very supportive of kids playing sport, particularly in a football competition of this size. Clearly though there are some issues with where this competition is going to be housed during the construction of the North East Link, and I think that this is a very important issue going forward.