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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3414..


Redevelopment of Deakin soccer oval

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received a letter from Ms Tucker proposing a matter of public importance for discussion, namely:

Irregularities in the Government's agreement with the Croatia Deakin Soccer Club over the redevelopment of the Deakin Soccer Oval.

MS TUCKER (7.57): I have put forward this matter of public importance today because I want to place on the public record before the Assembly finishes a number of issues of concern about the proposed redevelopment of the Deakin soccer oval that have been raised with me by the Deakin Residents Association.

After a number of FOI requests and other investigations, they believe that the agreement between the government and the Croatia Deakin Soccer Club to allow the club to redevelop the oval has been made against a background of disregard for, and even manipulation of, the requirements and intentions of the land act. The dealings in the Deakin soccer oval appear to have given a substantial benefit to the soccer club at the expense of the public interest.

This matter has some urgency as this agreement was made at the end of last year, and development applications for redeveloping the oval and placing housing on the adjacent land are currently under appeal in the AAT. I think the concerns raised by the Deakin residents deserve a fully independent investigation, and I do not want this delayed by the election. I have already passed on the documents given to me by the Deakin residents to the Auditor-General for his examination.

It needs to be made clear up front that while the agreement that the government has made is with the Croatia Deakin Football Club, this club is just a paper organisation that was created by the real club, the Croatia Deakin Soccer Club, that has used this oval for many years and has a club building opposite the oval complete with bars and poker machines. The only members of the football club that are allowed under its constitution are the directors of the soccer club. In fact, one of the directors of both clubs is also a director of Landco, the company doing the development work on behalf of the club.

The football club was registered as an incorporated association in 1998 when discussions were starting to occur about redeveloping the oval. At the instigation of the soccer club, the lease of the oval was transferred from the soccer club, who held a sublease on the oval from the ACT Soccer Federation, to the football club. Under the agreement with the government, this lease was surrendered, and new leases for the oval and the adjacent block were issued to the football club, not the soccer club. The government, and even the club itself, regularly got confused about which club they were referring to, as the words "soccer club" and "football club" were used interchangeably and often incorrectly in documents.

Why was this confusing situation between the two club names created? So that the soccer club, which had a liquor licence and access to a steady revenue stream, could gain a concessional lease over the oval, at a rent of $50 per week, against the intent of the land act. Under section 163 of the Land (Planning and Environment) Act, a concessional


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