Mr HODGETT (Croydon) — Last Saturday I had the pleasure of visiting the Mooroolbark Soccer Club at Esther Park, Mooroolbark. Mooroolbark Soccer Club has a long and proud history in Australian football. It was one of the founding members of the Football Federation Victoria — then the Victorian Soccer Federation — and the National Soccer League. Always competitive, the club is always nurturing new talent and providing the community with a valuable resource as a family‑orientated club. Founded in 1962, the club currently plays in Victorian State League 1. The club continues to grow and develop, with men’s and women’s teams and a terrific junior program across many age groups. In fact the club fields four senior men’s teams, two senior women’s teams and several junior boys’ and girls’ teams competing in both the Football Federation Victoria state and metropolitan leagues and the Bayside Football Association leagues.

Like many sporting clubs, Mooroolbark Soccer Club wants to invest in its facilities at Esther Park. Currently the clubroom facilities are inadequate to accommodate the Barkers teams, with women having to walk through the men’s changing rooms to access the toilets and/or get changed. I am told it is common for members of the women’s team to have to get changed in the car park, which is totally unacceptable in this day and age. The Kennel @ Esther Park, home of the Mooroolbark Soccer Club, is indeed in need of a major upgrade. The club’s objective is to maintain the high standards to which the Mooroolbark Soccer Club is accustomed and to continually improve their offering to the community. The Mooroolbark Soccer Club has a hardworking and dedicated committee, and I will continue to work with them as they seek funding opportunities to upgrade and improve their facilities. The club truly wants to become the benchmark for grassroots sporting clubs. Go the Barkers!