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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 October 2010) . . Page.. 4899 ..

MR BARR: I still maintain my membership of the Hawthorn Football Club and will continue to do so.

Mr Hargreaves: Where are the forms?

MR BARR: If you jump online, you can get in just in time. It is because of that shared desire of so many Canberrans to see this team be successful and to see this process—led at the community level and involving ACT businesses and finally now nearing completion in terms of a deal between the ACT government and the AFL around infrastructure, sponsorship and match-day guarantees—that we are very close, within, I imagine, about four weeks, to being able to make a significant announcement.

There is of course an important financial dimension to all of this. We will need to support this team with similar financial support that we provide for our other national league teams. We continue to have very positive discussions. They have been going on this week. We are discussing a 10-year agreement. We are looking at infrastructure at Manuka oval and what we might need to do to ensure that the financial returns to the team are there and that there is sustainability for the code in the ACT. So we are looking very hard at the financial realities.

We are also looking, though, at the benefits to the ACT community. We want to make ACT 4 GWS a reality because we hear this message that the Canberra community wants this team. It is an enormous opportunity, one that has the potential to deliver enormous benefits to our city.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (3.50): I would like to thank Mr Doszpot for bringing on this matter of public importance this afternoon. It is clear that around the chamber there is a level of support for it, and I think it is good that we take the opportunity to express that.

Like other members, I should probably declare what might be considered a conflict of interest upfront, as I am also one of the foundation members on the list. I put my money on the table as well to try and bring some AFL to Canberra. It would be fair to say that, when we talked about this in the party room this morning, I discovered there were a number of closet AFL fans in my party room whom I might never have picked. We have quite a few. It would also be fair to say that it was not universal. My colleague Ms Bresnan of course, as I think all members know, is a die-hard Broncos fan, and she is a little miffed at the departure of Israel Folau to team GWS. So I think there was a little bit of mixed feeling on that front.

I also feel some pressure now that Mr Barr was able to inspire with his fine words one extra sign-up on the web page during the time of his speech. I am closely watching to see if I can do a little better, but we will see how we go.

A lot has been said already about the potential benefits of having this partnership between the Greater Western Sydney team and the ACT, and I share many of those views. The obvious potential for having a team here and the pathways and the inspiration that can provide to young people is perhaps, to me, one of the most

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