18 June 2024

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields—Minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading, Minister for Industry and Trade, Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, Minister for Building, and Minister for Corrections) (20:40): Tonight I pay tribute to a remarkable community member and a giant of netball in Campbelltown, the Macarthur region and indeed across the State. Ms Shirley Connolly, OAM, sadly passed away this month. Shirley was the driving force behind the growth of netball in our region for 50 years as both a coach and an administrator. During this period, Shirley coached many East Campbelltown club teams and Campbelltown and District Netball Association representative teams. In my local community, when we think of netball we generally think of two things: the courts at Minto, where hundreds if not thousands of girls and women gather each week during the season to train and compete; and Mrs Shirley Connolly, stalwart of local netball community, highly revered among her peers and commended by Netball NSW.

Shirley—or "Mrs C", as she was affectionately known—held various positions at the association and was instrumental in making netball the sport of choice for women and girls in our local community. In 2021, Shirley was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her outstanding volunteer contributions to netball in the Macarthur region. Shirley was also recognised by both Campbelltown City Council and Netball NSW for her contributions to netball. The accolades are indeed very well deserved. Shirley played a pivotal role in advocating for the expansion and enhancement of the netball courts and facilities at Coronation Park in Minto. The facilities are rated among the best in New South Wales, and host netball competitions at local and State levels. Shirley's loss will be felt by so many in our local netball community. Shirley is deserving of permanent recognition, which is why I propose that the netball facilities at Minto be renamed "The Shirley Connolly Coronation Park Netball Complex".

I have written to the Mayor of Campbelltown, calling for council to consider my proposal and honour Shirley's legacy. The renaming of the facilities would serve as a permanent tribute to the netball stalwart and much‑loved community volunteer. It would honour Shirley's dedication to the sport and provide an enduring legacy of her valuable contributions to netball in Campbelltown and the Macarthur region. It would also ensure that Shirley's contributions to the local netball community live on in the hearts and minds of future generations of netballers in Campbelltown and across the State. I urge the council to consider my proposal to rename the Minto netball complex in honour of Mrs Connolly, and in doing so pay tribute to a remarkable member of our local community. Naturally, I look forward to council's favourable response. It is only fitting for a woman who was synonymous with netball locally and who dedicated her life to the sport.

I am told that as a child Shirley never had the opportunity to play netball. However, she fell in love with the game after her five daughters played the sport. Shirley recognised the importance of girls playing team sport and saw firsthand the value and rewards of being part of a team. As the mother of five daughters, Shirley could certainly testify to that. Shirley had a long involvement with the Campbelltown and District Netball Association, including as president between 1990 and 2018. Over many years, Shirley led the association through significant change, such as the digitisation of the association's administration and financial systems. She also introduced coaching and selective systems for representative teams. As a founding member of the Campbelltown Sports Foundation, Shirley contributed to the establishment of the South West Sydney Academy of Sport, which has directly supported the development of elite netballers from the Macarthur region.

Above all else, Shirley was a committed volunteer who believed in the value of service to our local community. Her actions reflected the belief that if our community provides a service, then we should give something in return. She certainly achieved that—and so much more. Shirley was also a strong believer in thanking people who volunteered their time and for their being loyal to the association. Shirley will be fondly remembered for her grassroots connection to the Campbelltown association—which she lived and, indeed, breathed. Our community will be forever grateful for Shirley's advocacy, commitment and valuable contributions to netball in Campbelltown and the Macarthur region. I thank Gail, her daughter whom I know well, her sisters and Shirley's nine grandchildren for allowing the community to share their mother and grandmother and her dedication and passion for netball and our community. May Shirley rest in peace.