6 November 2014
of the Legislative Council
Horizons Club putting Tasmania on the world map for disability sport
Mr President, I start by welcoming two special guests I have in the
Chamber today - Mrs
Belinda Kitto and Mrs Robyn Hanson. I
am going to talk about New Horizons, the sporting club for people
concepts of community and caring for each other are growing rather
than diminishing in our modern world. Social commentators are having
a field day trying to analyse and evaluate this trend, including Hugh
Mackay in his new book, The
Art of Belonging.
The trend can no better be illustrated than by our Launceston-based
New Horizons Club, which brings together people with disabilities for
a range of activities, mainly sport.
introduction to New Horizons website puts it rather well, and I will
1986, New Horizons Club Inc has remained a vital link between people
with disabilities and their hopes and dreams of becoming involved in
activities that most people take for granted. We allow people with
disabilities to compete and participate at their own level,
displaying their own unique skills and abilities.
and recreation activities are also ideal ways of encouraging
community inclusion, of enhancing friendships, of staying healthy and
of helping people of all age and abilities to strive for, and reach,
believe playing sport enhances self esteem through recognition of
effort and ability. Our sporting coaches and group leaders are all
volunteers, ably supported by a dedicated Board of Management and
Coordinator/Manager Belinda Kitto.
I mentioned, Belinda is here today. It was Belinda's mother, Robyn
Hanson, who is also here with us today, who started New Horizons in
1986. It might have been a trip to the Special Olympics that inspired
her to think there was a void in our community that needed to be
filled to support people who have these issues.
want to touch on the way that New Horizons helps itself with its
fundraising activities. You may have seen in the papers that Richie
Porte is coming home for the Stan Siejka Launceston Cycling Classic.
He is the ambassador for a fundraising ride we have every year called
the Western Tiers Cycle Challenge, so we will be able to connect with
him when he comes back home.
had an idea about a gala dinner a few years ago. Everyone wants to
have a gala dinner because it is a good way to raise money. I thought
we might be struggling, but the success this year, after about three
or four years, has been quite amazing. This year's dinner was held on
18 October, and it is hard to believe that $21 000 was raised just
from that one social night. It was held in Launceston's Albert Hall
and attended by 280 people. It is really hard to motivate people to
come out during autumn, but people came to support it. Every year the
attendance numbers and the funds raised have grown. New Horizons
intends to grow the event further as funds raised go straight back
into the local community to help people with disabilities.
New Horizons Club is helping put Tasmania on the map in relation to
disability sport. This year it sent the first indoor soccer team - a
futsal team - to the national championships in Canberra. That
competition is played alongside the mainstream futsal nationals. It
is a great experience for the participants to play and also to watch
the top players in Australia. New Horizons will be sending a team to
Sydney in January. By the way, players pay their own way, and New
Horizons runs fundraisers to help cover the cost of uniforms and
club is also forging a connection with Australian Rules football.
Members attended a great initiative by the AFL - an inclusion
carnival, as they call it - in July. They had the opportunity to play
on the MCG at half-time in a game between Melbourne and North
Melbourne. There was hardly anybody there to watch the game, but that
is beside the point.
may have heard of Aran Miller, who has excelled at swimming. He was
the inaugural winner of the Ray Bailey Memorial Award. Ray Bailey,
the former President of the Legislative Council, with his wife Lyn,
were patrons of New Horizons. He was a wonderful football player,
too, one of the best never to go to VFL. New Horizons arranged for
Aran to toss the coin at the start of the game at Aurora Stadium for
his beloved Hawthorn football team.
year, Aran was selected to represent Australia at the World Down
Syndrome Games in Italy. The club supported Aran with a fundraiser
and a donation to get him there. He came back with five gold medals,
and we will see what happens now. He is in Mexico, as we speak,
competing in swimming. He does his strength conditioning at my son
Brian's gym at KFM
there is something in it for everybody.
is not just a sport. The New
called Reaching New Horizons production is to be held early in early
December with 30 people with disabilities performing on stage. The
club's weekly craft class has 19 regular participants.
New Horizons continues to grow, it desperately needs a new venue.
They have outgrown their current facilities, which are ageing and
need a lot of maintenance - provided by the Tasmanian Community Fund.
They need more funding for staff, and they are absolutely stretched
to the limit.
the club started in 1986 with fewer than 20 members, the staffing was
the same as now, one full-time and one part-time helper. It now has
322 members and 166 athletes - the same staff but with massive growth
and increasing need for the service in the community. Funding for
staff has not changed, but it does need to change.
week New Horizons won a very prestigious award for community service
at the Launceston Chamber of Commerce Awards, so it shows the
appreciation for the club in the community.
President, the story of New Horizons begs the question: just what
should our State Government's funding priorities be? In the meantime,
New Horizons provides a fabulous base for these athletes and their
parents and carers, and I salute them.