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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 5 Hansard (5 April) . . Page.. 1334..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

will indeed be people throughout the country. Then the continuation of homelessness, and the despair and the despondency that go with that, will rest at the doorstep of Senator Kay Patterson.

Schools—ovals

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for education. Recently, minister, Chisholm primary school had to cancel its athletics carnival because its oval was not fit for use due to lack of watering over the past year or so. We now have 57 hectares of category three ovals not being used, and most of these ovals are school ovals. Given that the government requires students to undertake a certain amount of compulsory sport and that children face a range of health risks from lack of physical activity and sport, this situation seems to be unsustainable in the long term. Minister, how many schools have had to cancel athletics carnivals or other sports events since the beginning of the year?

MS GALLAGHER: I am not aware of any other schools that have had to cancel sporting events or athletics carnivals this year. There is an issue for schools that have led the way in reducing consumption of water, schools being large users of water. From memory, the department of education set a target to reduce water usage by 40 per cent. The schools exceeded this target, but it has led to school ovals suffering significantly and a reduced level of activity being allowed on those school ovals.

There has been strategic planning done to ensure that schools that have no other options, that is, no other ovals near the schools for them to use, have had their school ovals maintained. But for those schools that have other options—ovals nearby that are being watered—their watering program has been reduced. It is an issue for us. Once the drought eases, we will have to do significant remediation work. It is one of those things. We have reduced water consumption in schools and that has led to a detrimental effect on school ovals.

I should say, though, that schools have been extremely good in ensuring that the level of physical activity, as required, as mandated, is organised in other areas of the school. Schools do not do their physical exercise only on school ovals. There are a number of places where these activities happen—gymnasiums, halls, in quadrangles, inside the school and in other grassed areas outside the ovals. I can assure you that the physical activity requirements in schools are being met and that the health and wellbeing of children is not being disadvantaged by the reduction in water consumption in schools.

Sport and recreation—ovals

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, you recently stated publicly that, "The Government needs to be satisfied that some communities still need their ovals."That was in relation to our deteriorating ovals. What will communities need to do to convince you that their local area still actually needs an oval?

MR HARGREAVES: We know the result of the effects of drought on our ovals—and the choice of types of grasses in the past. I am not going to lay it at the feet of any particular former government, but this has led to the demise of many of our sporting fields and ovals. It would have been decidedly inappropriate for this government to have


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