With the 2018 Victoria Police & Emergency Services Games another great success, we now look forward to engaging in the 2019 Games with a great level of anticipation and excitement.
The Games continue to grow in popularity across the agencies, and with popular sports like netball, soccer sevens, indoor cricket and basketball and new sports like water skiing and indoor rock climbing, the choices of sports to participate in are plentiful. The lure of competing with or against friends, colleagues, for your division or agency should see a healthy level of competition across all sports. The sports offered once again cater for all ages and abilities, with venues used across the state offering access for all who wish to compete.
In October 2018 I completed the Head to Head Fundraising Walk with The Police Association Secretary Wayne Gatt. The aim of the Walk was to raise awareness of the mental health issues experienced by police, as well as raise muchneeded funds for police veterans suffering mental health issues tied to their experiences in the job.
While walking, I had many people emphasise the importance of fitness in keeping mentally well. The Games provide an opportunity for participants to have a fitness goal, come together in friendly competition, and connect with others who may face similar issues in their working life.
Competing in the Games gives emergency service workers across the state the ideal opportunity to participate in sports they love as well as try new experiences. Friendships get rekindled and stories of the past get told with even more vigour and enthusiasm.
I acknowledge and thank the Sports Federation, sports coordinators and volunteers for their considerable efforts in organising the 2019 Games. Without their contribution, the Games would not be possible.
I look forward to visiting the venues and events throughout the Games and seeing all participants in action. I encourage everyone to promote the Games, register for an event or two, get a team together, and enjoy what will be a wonderful nine days of sporting competition and fun.
Graham Ashton, AM