…I also wanted to let the House know of an exercise I was very pleased to be associated with a few weeks ago. I have previously indicated that nearly a third of the Chifley electorate is under the age of 19. Ensuring that more young people maximise their time in education and training, as well as ensuring they maintain a focus on their own health and wellbeing, are critical priorities for our area. That is why I was so keen to host a recent visit to three local primary schools by the Sydney Kings NBL team. Three young players—Ben Hollis, Jarrod Weeks and Nathan Wilson—along with coach Ian ‘Moose’ Robilliard and assistant coach Tim Hudson dropped into Willmot Public School, Tregear Public School and Plumpton’s Good Shepherd Primary School. While there, they engaged the students in some basketball exercises. They also delivered some important messages to the students about the need to build their bank of personal skills by staying on in school as long as they can and about ensuring they eat well and exercise often to see the benefit this generates for their personal health.
It was a sensational day and the 200 or so students—and the players—enjoyed the opportunity to mix and learn about these important issues. I want to thank the teachers and staff for their help, especially principals Maureen Johnson, Russell Hawkins and Mary Creenaune for helping with the organisation of the day. I was also especially grateful to the Sydney Kings for their time on the day and was really pleased to hear from the players how impressed they were with the students and how much they enjoyed the visits.
A person central to the organisation of the day was Bob Turner. It is rare to describe someone as iconic, but, when it comes to Sydney basketball, Bob Turner wears that label well. I was not the only Sydneysider celebrating the return of an NBL side to our great city last year. Bob Turner played a healthy part in making that happen and, in his own way, he helped draw some of the biggest crowds in the league. It was terrific to be present for some fantastic home games at the Kingdome. Bob was also instrumental in beginning to refashion the franchise’s approach to community engagement. It became something of an emerging, fast-growing passion for Bob—using his love of the game to try to shape closer links between the sport and community.
Just as so many Sydneysiders were delighted that Bob was able to bring the Kings back to Sydney, there are many who are saddened by the fact he is moving on to other ventures. He may have left the Kings, but basketball is ingrained in his DNA and it is great to hear that he is moving to set up a not-for-profit organisation called B’Ball4A11, designed to use the best aspects of the sport to open up opportunities for young people doing it tough. I wish Bob and his wife Alison every success and happiness in future endeavours and I thank them for their commitment to the game of basketball in this country—for what they have done and what Bob Turner will do.