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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 October 2010) . . Page.. 4895 ..

attended the signing of the MOU between the University of Canberra and the ACT 4 GWS team.

Yet with all these benefits, I must add that I am excited by the prospect of having 20 professional AFL games in Canberra over five years. As we said, it is not a fly-in, fly-out arrangement; it is one that can continue to develop broader community and sporting links.

I do not want to get into the negotiation issues between the government and GWS; it is not our place. However, a partnership with our city and GWS is, hopefully, possible—as in the case of the Hawthorn-Tasmania experience. What is more, as AFL is more and more becoming an export commodity, our GWS ties would allow Canberra to not miss out on this opportunity, which further builds on our already-mentioned role as a burgeoning sports industry hub.

In closing, I would like to again commend the work that has been put in by a lot of people connected with the club. They include Peter Taylor; Gary Buchanan; the GWS chairman, Tony Shepherd; and the CEO, Dale Holmes. And of course there is the contribution from the supporting clubs—Ainslie Football Club, the Queanbeyan Tigers, the Belconnen Magpies and the Eastlake Football Club. There is the support of Peter Taylor’s company, Pedders Suspension, and Autoco. And there is also the work that has been carried out by Coordinate.

All in all, it has been a very interesting and exciting community project that has now involved close to 5,000 Canberrans joining this membership. I hope that that membership grows well beyond that 5,000 and beats the ability of Mr Barr’s team, Hawthorn, to draw 8,000 members, I think, in Launceston. I am sure that we have the capacity to beat or at least match that target.

I thank the Assembly for the opportunity to speak about this matter of public importance and I trust that there will be a fairly united approach from all of our colleagues here in the Assembly.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (3.35): I thank Mr Doszpot for raising this matter this afternoon. I think he will find that this is a nice way to end a sitting week, with a little bit of agreement around the chamber about the importance of this community campaign, the importance of ACT businesses partnering with this community campaign in order to achieve something really positive for our city. I think it goes without saying that an opportunity is presenting itself for Canberra that is perhaps once in a lifetime and that as a community it is terrific to see that at a grassroots level, at an organised level within AFL in Canberra, our business community and government have been able to work together in order to get right to the brink of securing something really fantastic for Canberra.

I have just jumped on the website and can advise members that their membership counter is now up to 4,988. That would appear to be just 12 short of that 5,000 target. So if there is anyone in the building listening now who has not yet signed up, please

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