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Around 100 guests have attended the launch of the bi-partisan Parliamentary Friends of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in South Australia, which will work towards a range of community and sporting goals. 

The SA Parliamentary Friendship Group is co-chaired by the Hon Katrine Hildyard MP, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing and the Hon Vincent Tarzia MP, Shadow Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing.  

The group will promote and champion the positive impact Olympic and Paralympic sports generate throughout SA communities.  

The launch at Parliament House in Adelaide included several Paralympians, Olympians and emerging athletes. Also in attendance were Australian Paralympic Team Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin and Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Anna Meares, Paralympics Australia President Alison Creagh, Australian Olympic Committee President Ian Chesterman and a wide range of sport, community, business and government representatives. 

World Champion and Paralympic rower Nikki Ayers did a fine job as the event’s MC and Tokyo gold and silver medallist in Para-cycling Darren Hicks took part in a panel alongside track and road cyclist Sophie Edwards. 

The SA Parliamentary Friendship Group will work together towards community and sporting outcomes, including:  

  • encouraging participation in sport across the state, promoting the wide-ranging benefits sport can bring to all SA residents; 
  • promoting the fundamental principles and values of Olympism and Paralympism, particularly in the fields of sport, health and education; 
  • promoting the practice of sport as a human right, without discrimination of any kind, with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play; and 
  • recognising the heritage, culture and contribution of our nation’s First People, and to give practical support to the issue of Indigenous reconciliation through sport. 

Paralympics Australia continues to work with state and territory governments to secure funding for the Paris Team Appeal, having received commitments of equal funding to the Australian Olympic Team from Queensland, NSW, Victoria, ACT and Western Australia to date. 

McLoughlin said Paralympics Australia was grateful for the support of the SA Parliamentary Friends.  

“Delivering an Australian Team of some 170 athletes, along with coaches, team managers, carers, medical experts and Paralympics Australia’s outstanding operational staff is an enormous undertaking,” McLoughlin said. 

“We appreciate the backing of South Australia and the outstanding contribution that the South Australian Sports Institute makes towards preparing and supporting Para-athletes. The launch of the Parliamentary Friends Group is a strong statement of belief in our Australian Paralympic Team and the power of sport to create meaningful change across society.” 

McLoughlin said such relationships have the potential to progress policy and investment that will lead to positive change at a local level and help Australia maintain its proud place among the world’s top performing Paralympic nations. 

“The work of parliamentary members, in their electorates and in Parliament, helps shine a light on our athletes and helps advocacy for inclusion, accessibility and enhanced participation opportunities in sport and beyond,” she said.  

The next big event in the state will be the South Australia Premier’s Olympic and Paralympic Dinner on May 11. 

Visit for further information 

By Natalie McGarry, Paralympics Australia

Photos by Getty Images

Published: 10 April 2024