House of Representatives Speech- Dandenong Multicultural Youth Soccer Tournament, Noble Park Aquatic Centre 2012

I rise to speak about the launch of the Dandenong Multicultural Youth Soccer Tournament, which I attended on Saturday, 18 February, along with my parliamentary colleague Senator Kate Lundy, then Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.

I rise to speak about the launch of the Dandenong Multicultural Youth Soccer Tournament, which I attended on Saturday, 18 February, along with my parliamentary colleague Senator Kate Lundy, then Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.

The Dandenong Multicultural Youth Soccer Tournament, now in its second year, brings together eight teams to compete for the multicultural cup. Participants come from a diverse range of backgrounds: Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma and Iran. Many of those people have of course experienced significant trauma before coming to Australia. The soccer tournament provides an opportunity for these newly-arrived migrants and refugees to forge links with the Australian community and celebrates Australia's unique brand of multiculturalism through the universal language of sport. On the soccer field each person is considered equal. It makes no difference what race a person is, what language they speak or what beliefs they hold. On the soccer field our differences fade away. Although in each game only one team can win, every player in the tournament wins in other ways. I am confident that the friendships formed during the tournament will long outlast the contest on the soccer field. It is fitting that this tournament, an event centred on promoting the values of multiculturalism, is held in the City of Greater Dandenong. Greater Dandenong is a community that brings together more than 170 nationalities.

The youth soccer tournament is one of many events held across my electorate that brings the community together to celebrate our rich cultural diversity. It fits with the way the people in Greater Dandenong live in harmony and share in the opportunities that Australia has to offer. I wish all the competitors the very best of luck and look forward to the tournament grand final which will take place in April.

In keeping with the theme of community spirit through sport and recreation, I was privileged to preview the completely rebuilt Noble Park Aquatic Centre on Tuesday, 17 January at a turning-of-the-tap ceremony. The aquatic centre was officially opened on 8 March.

The aquatic centre is a valuable asset to the local community that can be used by people of all ages, all cultural backgrounds and all levels of physical ability. The recently redeveloped centre offers a range of sporting and recreation opportunities and features a 50-metre heated outdoor pool with ramp access, Melbourne's biggest water slide, group exercise classes and multipurpose rooms available for community meetings and functions.

The redevelopment of the aquatic centre is an example of local, state and federal governments working together to help create better facilities for the local community. Through the community infrastructure program, the federal government contributed $7.3 million towards this $20.8 million project, which was also funded by the City of Greater Dandenong and a grant given by the former Victorian Labor government. The project supported many jobs and played a part in the protection our Labor government provided to the Australian economy.