The Saturday after this place last rose the clash between Alvie and Forrest in
the Colac and District Football League occurred. The standard of football and
netball played that day was tremendously high. It was not all that long ago that
many country sporting clubs were floundering, not being able to cobble enough
players together and recruit or train school-aged children. Now, however, we
have exceptionally strong and well-patronised sporting clubs in rural Victoria.
This in part has been due to the Brumby Labor government’s
programs designed specifically to breathe life into country sport. The sporting
facilities upgrades — for example, netball courts, change rooms, new sporting
and community spaces and drought-proofing of sporting grounds and bowling clubs
— have been fundamental in building local community cohesiveness.
I know for a fact that the Alvie and Forrest communities warmly
welcomed the announcements I made on 9 May, which included $170 000 for the
Colac Otway Shire Council to build a new multipurpose facility at the Alvie
Football Netball Club, which will also include a new meeting room, canteen and
kitchen facilities, new toilets and storage facilities as well as upgrades to
the Alvie netball court. There is also a further $60 000 to upgrade facilities
at Forrest Football Netball Club, including extending and resurfacing the
netball courts, installing lighting and building a better shelter.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the communities
of Alvie and Forrest, and also the Colac Otway Shire Council, for their hard
work in tackling these projects and raising a significant amount of money when
times are particularly tough.