Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (13:58): I would like to take this opportunity to raise my concerns about the home of soccer in the Illawarra. Soccer is the most popular sport in the Illawarra and the Illawarra has been a nursery ground for national and international champions, both men and women, within the sport. In recognition of this depth of strength in the region, I worked very closely with Football South Coast and RDA Illawarra together with the member for Grayndler and the member for Ballarat to ensure that there was funding available for a new home for soccer in the Illawarra. In the 2013-14 budget, $7.5 million was set aside to get halfway towards building the new $15-million facility. It would be a world class all-weather pitch with training facilities for youngsters, a club house, parking facilities and new grandstands thereby dragging the Illawarra and its soccer playing facilities well into the 21st century.
Unfortunately, we know that there is now a big cloud over the future of this facility. I call on members of the government and members of the Liberal Party to get behind this important project to ensure that the young kids in the Illawarra and the future champions from the Illawarra have the opportunity to play on the sorts of facilities that are available to soccer players in capital cities right around the country. I urge members opposite to support this important facility.