By Michael Giles

THE Bass Coast Shire Council doesn’t appear to be in any rush to complete the Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve Master Plan, already more than six months behind schedule.
Never mind that groups like the Wonthaggi Basketball Association and the croquet club are eagerly awaiting release of the report so that they can get on with the task of providing more people in the community with a sporting outlet.
And the Phillip Island heated pool?
Well that never looks like getting a start while we are wasting so much money on executive salaries, consultants and failed projects.
But shire councillors and senior management at Bass Coast need look no further for inspiration than the comments made by Hawthorn great David Parkin at a local football-netball club night last week.
And the leaders at the South Gippsland Shire, as well as our local MPs, should also sit up and take note about why it is so important that we stop waste and delay in government and release more money for sports facilities and sporting programs.
Speaking at a Leongatha Football-Netball Club counter tea night last Thursday, David Parkin was effusive in his praise for the volunteers who run the hundreds of football-netball clubs in the country towns across Australia.
“In my travels around the country I go to a lot of towns where the football-netball club is often the main thing, the only thing they’ve got going in the town.
“It’s often the best looked after facility and the place where everyone meets and not only on footy days.
“It’s just so important and we shouldn’t underestimate the contribution that’s being made.
“A stunning figure that I came across in my work is that of all of the kids caught up in the justice system, do you know that 96 per cent of them never played sport.
“How many times have we seen it where a sporting club provides the structure and the life skills our kids need to get the most out of their lives and not fall by the wayside.”
Mr Parkin was in town as part of his role as an AFL Coaching Ambassador, mentoring Leongatha coach Beau Vernon, who is presently working his way through an AFL High Performance Coaching Course (Level 3) typically completed by prospective AFL and VFL coaches.
As well as being full of praise for Beau’s attitude to the course and also his coaching role, David Parkin took the opportunity to speak to the whole playing group at Leongatha and their supporters following Thursday night’s training.