Undelivered Speech at the Sunshine & Western Region Sports Club (SWRSC) Dinner

Good Evening. I would like to thank Sunshine & Western Region Sports Club for their invitation to address you tonight. I am very pleased to be here.

I personally would like to thank the President Charlie Bezzina, for inviting me here tonight. I would also like to acknowledge tonight’s guest speaker Liat Watson.

Sports play a vital role in the lives of everyday people. Some people worship a particular game, club or sporting star. And some people are keen spectators, enjoying the social side more so than the sports.

People across the globe and in Melbourne’s West, love sport. Having lived in Sydney for the most part of my life, I must say, Melbournians are indeed some of the most passionate sporting people in Australia.

I have been involved in sport since I was 7 and have coached sporting teams in later years. I have enjoyed the comradery that sport brings and acknowledge its positive impact on peoples lives. Sports allow people from all backgrounds, creeds, sex and abilities to participate — and participation is important.

Participation in society breaks down barriers and promotes inclusiveness. It protects against social isolation, and strengthens community links.

I have put my hand up, to become a councillor for Brimbank Council because I believe in participation, and I want to make a contribution to my community. My four priorities are to Boost Enterprise, Maintain a Strong Housing and Planning System, Improve Public Parks and Place and to Strengthen Our Community.

For my last priority: Strengthening our community — I believe that sport can play a key role here. One of the best things about a sporting culture is that it encourages people to come together and get involved in something positive — whilst learning about how to contribute to a team and a wider community.

When clubs like yours are supported by local, state and federal government agencies, we as a community are better off. In addition, when clubs like yours raise money from the community, what it does is it sends an important message to government representatives — that when you invest in an athlete’s talent and ambitions, you are investing in the spirit of your local community.

When my wife and I bought our house in Sunshine last year, I met a young local athlete a few doors down. He told me he was a State and National track runner.

You wouldn’t guess it, but I was once a 100, 200 and Shot Put athlete.

This young man is passionate about running. He’s a passionate sportsperson. Maybe one day he will do us proud and represent us at the Olympics.

I want to support individuals like this man, through community groups like the Sunshine & Western Region Sporting Club.

In the future, Brimbank, like other councils will need to live within their means, especially once rate-capping is introduced; however, I believe that investing in sporting facilities is a long-term investment that we need to consider and put money aside for. With the growing obesity rate in Australia, an elderly population set to rise and youth disengagement with society– better sporting facilities offer a potential for councils to support their athletes.

For government and policy makers, I say future investment should be ongoing.

I would like to end by congratulating Sunshine & Western Region Sporting Club for its continuing support of young local athletes in the West.

It is important that we have effective collaboration between all three tiers of Government to support sporting clubs across Melbourne.

I support you in this work and I support our community.

I look forward to seeing the impact of your fundraising towards local athletes and the Western Health Children’s Department.

If you would like more information about my candidacy, please head to www.KwabenaAnsah.com or any of the major social media sites like instagram, facebook or twitter — just type in Kwabena Ansah.

Thank You.