Two Saturdays ago I had the privilege to preside over the first day of competition at the upgraded Hensley Athletics Field. It was a great day and a day that ushered in a new era for sport in our City.
To witness the display of skills from Randwick-Botany Little Athletics and Pagewood Soccer was, to me, the best way to set the scene for the future of Hensley. The exuberance, the passion for their sport and the skills they showed auger well for the future of sport in this part of Sydney.
After the display of skills by the Little A’s and Pagewood, It was the curtain raiser for the first match on the new centre pitch – between the under 13s of Sydney University and Central Coast. A strong local team and their visitors from the outside of Sydney illustrated the reach of the new Hensley Athletic Field.
The only thing that didn’t go well on the day was the inability of the Australian Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese, to attend. Mr Albanese was otherwise occupied on electoral matters.
The upgrade and expansion of the Hensley into a multi-sport facility was only possible by the actions of this Minister and the Australian Government. It was because of the Australian Government’s decision to deal directly with local government in economic stimulus projects that we got any action on Hensley. We had knocked on so many doors in so many government departments and offices in the past, seeking support for Hensley. We got nowhere. We got to the stage where we seriously considered closing Hensley down.
Anthony Albanese and the Australian Government listened and acted. They did it for Hensley, they did it for the new pedestrian/cycle link between Mascot and Eastgardens and they did it for the Mascot Library.
Each of these projects will benefit the people of our City now and for the future. Council could have done none of them by itself. We needed help and we got it. For those reasons, I want to place on the public record our appreciation of Anthony Albanese and the Australian Government.
At this stage we don’t know the outcome of last Saturday’s federal election but we do know the assistance and the support this City received from Mr Albanese and the Government of which he is a senior member.