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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 3 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 872..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Having said that, I believe that it is important that not just the government continue its negotiations in a positive frame, but indeed that ACTAFL and the Canberra sporting community, particularly those within Aussie Rules, begin to work and think strategically. We need to do that as a region, not just within the confines of the ACT, to ensure that we do everything that we can to support the Kangaroos and to support the game. I know that there is a level of disappointment that projections in relation to the sale of memberships of the Kangaroos that ACTAFL has worked on over the last three years have not come to fruition. I know that this is one of the negotiating points that the ACT will have to respond to when negotiations do commence seriously with the AFL.

One of the issues that the government will be pursuing with sport, with Australian Rules particularly, is the need to continue to develop the game, not just at senior levels but certainly at junior levels, and we need as a community and as a region to meet some of the club's expectations or the AFL's expectations in relation to committed long-term support for the Kangaroos. By that I mean that we need to have more people take up membership of the Kangaroos as an expression of our commitment to this team and to the development of the game in the ACT.

I do not doubt for one minute, Mr Mulcahy, that we do potentially face some challenging negotiations, but not so much with the Kangaroos. I think that the Kangaroos have a real commitment. I believe that perhaps some of the hardheads in the AFL will be looking for a level of commitment in terms of membership, support and development which will challenge us, but it is fundamentally important that we meet the challenge and the government is determined that we do.

MR MULCAHY: I have a supplementary question. Minister, are you committed to maintaining funding to other national sporting teams, such as the Raiders, Brumbies, Capitals, Lakers, Strikers, Eclipse and Knights?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, we are. Indeed, many of the arrangements that we currently have in place are long-term contractual arrangements and the government has absolutely no intention of breaching any of the contractual arrangements it has in place. I could not go through them one by one in terms of the nature of the payments and the contractual arrangements that are in place in relation to the performance payments which we pay to our national teams.

I could not go through them one by one and should not be deemed now to be giving a particular response in relation to each of them, but we have a number of contractual arrangements in place with our national teams in relation to performance-performance agreements-and it is our intention to honour those agreements. I think that in the majority of cases, perhaps indeed in all of the agreements currently in place, they are agreements that were negotiated by this government and it will, of course, honour them. Having said that, I do not know the details of the contractual arrangements in place in relation to all of the teams that you named; but, as a general position, yes, it is our intention to maintain our support.

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