Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 28 October 2010) . . Page.. 5287 ..
MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the minister for sport and concerns support for community sporting and recreational venues. Minister, it is becoming increasingly difficult for community-run facilities such as bowling clubs, golf clubs and sailing clubs to ensure long-term financial viability in the current climate of club commercialisation. Minister, are you aware that the number of these facilities in the ACT is diminishing? What has the government done to investigate this trend further?
MR BARR: I am not sure that I can agree with some elements of Ms Le Couteur’s question in terms of an alleged diminution of community sporting facilities. If you look at the totality of new facilities that have been added in the territory in recent times, there are, in fact, more sport and recreation facilities available across the board than has been the case in the past.
But I do acknowledge that, within the totality of the sport and recreation sector, some sports are less popular in 2010 than they perhaps were when the facilities were initially provided some time ago. That is certainly the case with golf. It is not as popular a sport now as it was than perhaps in Greg Norman’s heyday when the levels of participation in this community and this country were much higher.
There are a range of factors that contribute to facilities viability. Some of those clearly relate to ageing infrastructure requiring more cost to service each year. If there are fewer people using those facilities and, therefore, less revenue coming in to the facilities owners, then there are challenges for commercial viability for a number of these facilities.
From time to time, there are clearly requests from facility owners to change the use of their facilities, be that within the existing zoning, say, to move to an alternative form of sport and recreation usage. In other instances, there are proposals to reduce the size of the sport and recreation facility to provide some form of redevelopment that would then finance consequential redevelopment of the sport and recreation facility.
There are examples of golf courses, clearly, where some housing has been allowed within the golf course precinct that has provided revenue not only for the sport and recreation facility but an opportunity for residents to live close to a sport and recreation amenity that they value. So you will see, then, the possibility for increased membership of golf clubs, for example, if people are living either on or adjacent to the golf course. There are examples of that around the city.
Equally, when it comes to bowls, there has been a rationalisation of the number of bowling sites across the territory. Sport and Recreation works with organisations like Bowls ACT to have sport-specific plans across the territory. We are working through, with a number of ACT sports, facilities plans for their sport across the territory. Bowls is one example. Swimming is another. We have been working with Basketball ACT and with a number of sport and recreation organisations.
Laid on top of that is the total territory facilities audit that was undertaken when the territory faced the prospect of stage 4 water restrictions. We worked through, with all