Transcript - Wangaratta Aquatic Centre official opening

MICHAEL McCORMACK

I acknowledge Senator Bridget McKenzie, Senator for Victoria and Dr Helen Haines, the Member for Indi. Importantly, I acknowledge everyone else who has turned up particularly the swimming clubs. Now, I met Robert and Sue earlier, they and their club have raised $100,000 towards this project – yes, put your hands together, that takes a tremendous effort, let me tell you. And it is great that local, state and federal governments contribute and this is a $16.9 million project and we know how important these sorts of projects are to building community capacity, to building better lifestyles in our regions.

If there's one thing that COVID has taught us, it is that you can have a lifestyle like no other in regional areas. But I have to tell you, when you've got a swimming pool – an aquatic centre complex such as this, you are going to attract people, you are going to attract visitors. And when they come and they see places like Wangaratta and they see what they have to offer as far as health and education and most importantly, leisure and aquatic and sporting services then they are going to tell others to come and visit and they’re potentially going to stay.

And it's not just for the swimmers. It's not just for the great swimmers that Wangaratta is going to produce that are going to hopefully, swim at Brisbane in 2032 – I know that’s away off but they start young and they’ll get there. But it's also people who are in rehab, it's people who've had knee surgery and hip surgery and those sorts of things who are going to use these facilities to recover, to build their confidence. It's also about young ones learning how to swim because all too often you see tragedies, particularly in summertime, when young ones and some not so young, die because they can't swim. And when you've got facilities such as these, it encourages families, it encourages people to come and learn how to swim and to come and get confidence in the water – and that is everything.

So I commend the rural city of Wangaratta, the Council. I commend everybody involved in this project and I know how important these buildings, sporting facilities are. Bridget knows that – we've worked so hard at a federal level to make sure that we get good sporting facilities right throughout the country and there's more work to be done and we'll do it and we'll build community capacity, it is so important in these areas to have facilities such as this be equal to not just to what we've got in city areas, but to be equal to anywhere in the world. This is a world class facility and Wangaratta deserves it, well done to everyone involved.

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