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ADJOURNMENT – Bennelong Cup, Bennelong Gardens

30 September 2014


Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (21:25): During my time serving the people of Bennelong I have worked with my staff to instigate worthwhile and ongoing projects within my electorate. This year I am proud that the Bennelong Cup table tennis competition celebrates its fourth anniversary. It is an initiative that has fostered friendly competition, physical activity and a sense of school pride within the schools of Bennelong. Once again Hyundai Australia is proud sponsor, and I thank the good people at Hyundai for their ongoing interest and support.

The Hyundai Bennelong Cup is an annual event where local schools create their own internal competition using table tennis tables we donated to our schools back in 2011. Once the school champions have been decided through the internal competitions, they are entered into the Bennelong Cup interschool table tennis tournament. In a little over three weeks, our best young primary and high school table tennis players will go head to head, school against school, culminating in the awarding of the perpetual Bennelong Cup trophy at ELS Hall in North Ryde.

Our table tennis competition came about when we noticed that in ethnically diverse Bennelong there was somewhat of a cultural divide when it came to participation and interest in sports. We all know that involvement in sport and physical activity is paramount to health both mental and physical, and the game of table tennis is something that transcends gender, age and skill.

Alongside the schools’ competition, this year’s Bennelong Cup will see an international table tennis tournament where Australia’s elite table tennis players will compete against some of the world’s top players from China, Japan and Korea, including a world-class competition right here in the Great Hall of Parliament House on Thursday, 23 October. I invite my parliamentary colleagues to come along and enjoy the awesome spectacle of this world-class competition.

Another project that I have been working on is the Bennelong Gardens Initiative. Next Tuesday Bennelong Gardens will be officially launched with our Silver Spade event to celebrate the planting of our first apple trees for our heritage granny smith apple orchard.

Bennelong Gardens is a large-scale, commercially viable community gardens project utilising unused public lands across Bennelong. It provides rewarding work for people with disabilities as well as volunteer opportunities for local retirees and others who will benefit greatly from social interaction and physical activity. Through partnerships with Achieve Australia, Royal Rehab, Harris Farm Markets, Ryde City Council, the New South Wales state government, Australian Native Landscapes, TAFE NSW and Social Ventures Australia, the Bennelong Gardens social enterprise will provide a collective impact bringing the community together and helping people achieve economic independence through commercial success.

The aim is to establish commercial market gardens across approximately 100 acres of unused land throughout the electorate. Fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the Bennelong Gardens will be sold on-site to local greengrocers and members of the public. Harris Farm Markets has agreed to allocate Bennelong Gardens shelf space, with all sales going directly to our social enterprise. As beneficiaries of the Bennelong Gardens social enterprise, the people with disabilities will gain economic benefit from the sale of produce. Achieve Australia will administer the project.

Seed funding for Bennelong Gardens comes from the establishment of the Heritage Granny Smith Apple Orchard in honour of Bennelong being the home of the granny smith apple. Each tree will be sponsored by a company or individual for $1,000, and I was delighted to buy the very first tree. Royal Rehab in Putney will house the first of the apple trees, and next week we will proudly be turning the first sod to get this fantastic project up and running.

I invite all my Parliamentary colleagues to consider contributing to Bennelong Gardens social enterprise by sponsoring a tree or to start a similar initiative in their own electorate. This project represents direct action to support those who need it most in our community to empower them to achieve independence and an increased sense of personal pride. I would be happy to work with any member or senator to assist the roll out of this initiative.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! It being 9:30 pm, the debate is interrupted.

House adjourned at 21 : 30