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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 27 October 2010) . . Page.. 5199 ..


He said the government is also considering a range of options to ensure this project is delivered at the best value to taxpayers, including a joint venture with the private sector. This is the model that was used to establish CISAC in Belconnen to which the government committed $10 million. While the Greens do not agree that was a promise, we also have to note that just because something was promised does not necessarily always mean it is the best course of action. The Greens agree that we do need to keep our political promises, and we are not trying to support breaking promises. What we are trying to concentrate on with this motion is the best outcome for Gungahlin.

It is also quite reasonable from a political point of view that, if evidence is overwhelmingly different from the perception, your course of action can change. That is why we think it is very important to see the government’s feasibility study. We are not sure why it has taken so long to be finalised, but we are glad to see that the government’s amendment sets a reporting date on the study. The feasibility study is clearly the key to this project at this stage.

There certainly have been many calls from the Gungahlin community for a public pool, and, as Mr Hanson mentioned, the Gungahlin Community Council did a Gungahlin-wide survey on key areas of concern for residents in 2007. I imagine the results of this survey strongly influenced the government’s promise to provide a 50-metre pool for Gungahlin, as the community response to the survey at the time showed that 83 per cent of respondents said that the council should continue to push for a 50-metre pool rather than just accept a 25-metre pool.

As an aside, I note that this was exactly the same level of support for a light rail link from Gungahlin to Civic. Many more people rated transport as a priority for Gungahlin rather than a sporting facility, but that is another debate not for today.

Back to the pool. On the face of it, this is a simple motion. It says the government promised a 50-metre pool, the community wants one, and the government should therefore hurry up and provide it. The Greens do not disagree with that. But, unfortunately, it gets more complicated than that. During the government’s consultation on the pool, as Mr Barr referred to last week in question time, a new model was put forward which involves a series of specialised pools—a pool dedicated to swimming and lap swimming, a dedicated pool for learning to swim, hydrotherapy, aquarobics and a dedicated wetplay area. This is the model supported by organisations such as the Royal Life Saving Society and Swimming ACT. It relates to the need for more children to learn to swim and develop water survival skills early in life, which we all know is very important in Australia, a country where a lot of swimming happens over summer in pools, rivers and at the beach.

There has been a lot of concern from many groups, including the Greens, about the swimming ability of ACT school students compared with others around the country and the decline of student numbers in swimming programs. The Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement has an item which addresses this, and, as a result, more than $300,000 over four years was allocated to ACT primary schools for the swim and survive program in the last budget.


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