Page 2997 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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competitions and social sporting events. I keep asking for the government to provide responses to the recommendations from several feasibility studies that have been undertaken over previous years and to provide time frames for any of the proposed actions on new indoor sporting facilities in several Canberra districts.

I note that, at long last, the government has acted on its 2012 election commitment to provide a community recreation park in Casey, but the details of the proposed project include many future projects, all subject to funding allocations, and thus are not necessarily guaranteed. Many of the original young residents of Casey that moved there 10 years ago have no doubt grown up and do not necessarily need the sporting infrastructure there, as they have moved on. The recent announcement of the final design is a form of enticement that will rapidly morph into disappointment if the proposed future facilities do not proceed within a reasonable time frame or suffer from lack of funding.

I mentioned earlier that there seems to be a perception that the new schools will have gym or hall facilities ideally suited to the needs of many sporting groups, yet the message is that the specific and multipurpose needs are not being met. It is vitally important that the government indicates to what degree the development of shared facilities in the new schools will impact on the provision of community indoor sporting facilities in growth areas of Canberra.

I now turn to the issue of renewal of funding for the Greater Western Sydney football team to play matches in Canberra. A long-term funding agreement between the ACT government and GWS is no doubt due to be announced soon. Why does the government offer a long-term lucrative deal to an out-of-town club for a limited number of matches played in Canberra on an annual basis? I note that ACT-based teams in other codes who play more matches locally and have far greater local development processes and local community exposure do not seem to receive similar favourable treatment from this government.

The debate over a replacement stadium is ongoing and without any apparent short-term solution. I recognise that the capital cost of construction is large and is increasing each year, but I note that other capital cities, and even country cities that are smaller than Canberra, have achieved either a new refurbished stadium facility or a new facility in recent years. These more modern facilities in other states are a bigger drawcard for major events than what Canberra can offer. This means the national capital’s image is downgraded and the ACT economy is the loser.

The debate over the future of GIO Stadium at Bruce was given renewed interest following the recent National Press Club address by the CEO of the Australian Sports Commission, Kieren Perkins. It was made very clear that the plans for the future of the AIS in Canberra do not include the retention or ongoing maintenance of the stadium facility.

The stadium complex is close to 40 years old. I want to know what the predicted life span of the complex is before cost of maintenance, essential modifications and operation outweigh the benefits of using the facility. This suggests that the situation will arise where Canberra no longer has a stadium facility, in the event that the existing facility is closed before a replacement is ready to be used.

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