Address at the announcement of the 2010 Paralympic team - 25 November 2009
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25 November 2009
I’ll start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today.
And also acknowledge:
- The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services
- Greg Hartung, the new Vice President of the International Paralympic Committee, President of the Australian Paralympic Committee and Chair of the Australian Sports Commission
- Matt Miller, Executive Director of the Australian Sports Commission
- Mr Michael Leir, High Commissioner of Canada
- Andrew Southcott, Shadow Minister for Sport
- Andrew Barr, ACT Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation
- Senator Kate Lundy
- Senator Michael Ronaldson, Shadow Special Minister of State
- Ladies and gentlemen.
Representing your country is a great honour and is something you, with your family and communities should be very proud of.
There is absolutely no doubt that today is about recognising the crème de la crème who will soon be representing our nation on the world stage.
We are of course a great sporting nation with exceptional talents - but I think we should recognise the particular achievements of our winter athletes who face additional challenges of climate, travel and time commitments.
I think it’s important to reiterate that the Government is a proud and committed partner with Australian sport.
And I want to make it clear today that we are committed to increasing government support for Olympic and Paralympic sport and community sport over time.
We understand the importance of our Olympic and Paralympic movements to our nation. Our sports men and women not only help inspire our nation, they help shape community attitudes.
I had the opportunity to see our Paralympic athletes first hand in Beijing – and marvelled at their courage and heroism, their achievements in the arena as well as their attitude and determination.
Recently, we’ve seen marathon athlete Kurt Fearnley, take on the incredible challenge to crawl the iconic Kokoda Track. He not only conquered Kokoda but has again shown us what an inspiration he is for all Australians – by conquering some pretty archaic behaviour and attitudes on his way home too.
The Paralympics in Vancouver will be an amazing experience for each of you as you strive to achieve your dreams - dreams that you have long trained, planned and sacrificed for.
They will also be an important event for the nation - as once more we derive inspiration from your courage, determination and sheer talent.
We’ll be there with you.
You have the support of a nation as you compete alongside the world’s best.
Representing Australia is a great honour and to all of you named in the team today, on behalf of the Government, I wish you every success in Canada.
We’ll be cheering for you.
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