Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) — Footy is a part of Victoria’s culture, and it is a game that we have made a national code and exported around the world. While the centre of our game is the hallowed turf of the MCG, many Victorians’ first experience of footy is at a local community game. It is these leagues which nurture young talent and provide a focus for community pride. One of my local clubs, the AJAX Football Club, has been attempting to bring its game home and convince the City of Glen Eira to allow it to play at Princes Park in Caulfield South. AJAX’s junior teams play at the ground, and it is in the heart of the club’s supporter base. My son proudly plays for the juniors, and I have coached them in the past.
Regrettably the council will not play ball and has repeatedly denied AJAX a guernsey by refusing to grant its requests to play at Princes Park.
This is despite over 70 per cent of the club’s players and supporters being Glen Eira residents. The juniors have played at Princes Park for over 20 years, and it makes sense for the teams to be united at a common ground. Whilst I understand that space is at a premium and the council has to juggle the needs of local clubs, I find bizarre the decision to prioritize the needs of outside clubs over locals, with Glen Eira council guaranteeing an old collegians team from outside the city the right to play at Princes Park. A local council should prioritize the needs of local residents and ratepayers.
I call on the council to put aside politics and bickering to achieve a solution. It my hope that one day AJAX will come home.