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Launceston Basketball Association

[11.23 a.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, Today I speak about the Launceston Basketball Association - one of northern Tasmania's premier sporting organisations, and a key driver in the northern sporting calendar.

The Launceston Basketball Association was founded in November 2016, the product of a merger between the Launceston Junior Basketball League, the Launceston Senior Basketball League, the Northern Baptist Basketball Association and the Northern Tasmania Basketball Officials Association. The LBA consequently represents a myriad of players.

The largest association by member number in Tasmania - approximately 1700 - the LBA currently employs a full-time manager and retains a large contingent of volunteers that make the organisation tick.

While the LBA has well-established relationships with the Launceston Tornadoes, the representative team of the LBA is Launceston Lightning.

The LBA is also a member of the Good Sports association, a national coalition of some 9500 sporting clubs, teams and organisations that are committed to delivering the social, health and community benefits that engaging in sport brings. As a result, the LBA proactively recruits new players to their many competitions, and keeps them engaged and retained through positively impacting on health outcomes and social engagement.

The LBA also engages in fundraising activities such as participating in the Breast Cancer Network Australia Pink Sports Day and supports its players in reaching higher and higher levels of success in the sport.

The LBA is truly a grassroots organisation that does much to support our community. The typical season administered by the LBA runs from late February to August. In 2019, the LBA had 193 teams participating over six days per week, ranging from the under-10s to the senior premier leagues, and more convivial social competitions.

It is very easy to see how much work the LBA does, and just how many interests it represents and sectors of the community it supports.

However, 2020 was not a typical year for the LBA. With the advent of COVID-19, it would not be unreasonable to say that the LBA experienced significant disruptions. Being based at the Elphin Sports Centre, the construction of the coronavirus respiratory testing clinic essentially displaced the association and therefore their many competitions.

I was advised in May by LBA president, Craig Gibson, that the LBA season 2020 had essentially been cut as a result of the coronavirus clinic moving into the Elphin Sports Centre. Ever the optimist, Mr Gibson did his best to devise a contingency plan, which was workable, but obviously fell short of what is typically to be expected of a normal basketball season.

While it was potentially set to be based at Elphin until the end of the year, a fantastic result has recently come through for the LBA and its competitions, with the arrangement for the coronavirus clinic at the Elphin Sports Centre to end sooner than originally planned.

As it stands, there are still a number of weeks until the competition can get back up and running, but from 26 June, community sport is permitted to resume, with indoor numbers of up to 500 people allowed. This is a tremendous result for this organisation, and for our sporting community more generally, on the proviso that adequate health, wellbeing and safety measures continue to be adhered to - which I am sure they will be.

At this stage, I would like to point out the excellent work our Health department, Health minister, Director of Public Health, the Premier and their staff have done in managing the coronavirus response and bolstering the health and wellbeing of our communities.

As a result of the dogged determination of Mr Gibson and the association's board, the LBA will ensure that our communities will return back to doing the activities they love and that keep them healthy, well and engaged.

I look forward to seeing the competitions back up and running and attending a game in the very near future.

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