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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3940..


MR STEFANIAK (3.44): Mr Speaker, one would have to say that there are some severe problems facing motor sport in the ACT at present and the state of motor sport in the ACT could certainly be a lot healthier than it is. There is a lot more I think this government and this Assembly can do to assist.

Canberra still has some excellent motor sport activities and a marvellous facility in Fairbairn Park. But when you go back to about 20 years ago we had a large number of excellent facilities. We had Fairbairn Park, which still indeed had a lease then; we had Fraser Park, which was still going; and we also had at that stage, I think, the start of the Canberra dragway near the airport. Since then the dragway has closed and of course Fraser Park has closed as well. All we have is Fairbairn Park. I'll deal with that first.

There are a number of issues in relation to Fairbairn Park. It started back in 1975. It had, I understand, a 10-year lease, which expired in 1986. It had a number of tracks. It had the Formula 500 track, which doesn't operate anymore. It had the carts, the bikes and indeed the hill climb. The carts, the bikes and the hill climb remain to this day; in fact, the hill climb was re-established about five years ago and is an excellent track. The Canberra Motor Sports Club-I think that's the correct term-is about 11/2 kilometres away towards Fairbairn airport. That, I understand, has a long-term lease and has had for some considerable period of time.

There have been a lot of issues in relation to Fairbairn Park. I think most of them are very unfair to motor sport. I can remember tabling in this place back in 1994 a note from the then CEO of the then Department of Land, Planning and Environment-whatever it was called, whatever the department's name was then-indicating, "Well, we can't please both sides; we may as well please one,"being the people who wanted to see Fairbairn Park effectively shut down because of noise issues. It has become quite plain, in fact, over the years since then that it really only has been one person in about the last 10 years who has been complaining about noise issues.

On a slightly positive note: I must say since 1994, when Fairbairn Park's viability was in doubt because of that, some progress has been made. A regime was put in place about three or four years ago. I must say this government has maintained that, and I commend them for that. This indicates that at least some of those concerns have gone away, as they should, because fundamentally they have been a nonsense and indeed have been a nonsense for probably over a decade. There simply are no real issues in relation to noise from Fairbairn Park. More can be done there, but at least the gradual whittling away of noise credits seems to have had a stop put to it over the last five years, and that is something we can be thankful for.

I do have concerns, however, in relation to the lease renewal process. Over the last four or five years there's been a real issue in relation to, and a real need for a long-term lease for, Fairbairn Park. The current lease actually expired in 1986 and they've been operating and indeed paying their rent-due on, I think a three-monthly basis-from month to month. I'm at a little bit of a loss to see why this lease has not been renewed, despite the support, supposedly, from the minister, Mr Quinlan, and indeed, I understand, his colleague the planning minister, Mr Corbell, for the lease to be actually given to the Council of ACT Motor Clubs. I'm not certain if it's actually going to be a 20-year lease,


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