Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 August 2018) . . Page.. 2932 ..
Sport really is the glue that binds us all but it does not run on community spirit alone. Grassroots sport relies on community contributions, and this government needs to stop its campaign against clubs and listen to the needs of the community it is meant to serve.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.22): It is clear from a number of reports over recent years that the current community contributions scheme has some weaknesses and is not working as well as it could. That is why the Greens called for a review of the scheme through the parliamentary agreement and why we are supportive of the process that the government is currently undertaking to consider options for changes and improvements.
This process has included a recent period of community consultation, and I expect that the feedback from clubs, community groups and industry will inform the government’s response, along with the evidence and recommendations from the various reports that we have seen.
I also believe that there is a more constructive way to engage in this debate than the path outlined in Mr Parton’s motion. It is unfortunate that some organisations and individuals have chosen to use this period of consultation to engage in a campaign of making the worst possible scenario for this and suggest that the future of clubs is under threat because of this review.
We know that many clubs were set up with a dedicated purpose of supporting local community activities, from sports teams to language and cultural groups, and it is not the intention of this review to get in the way of those activities. There is great benefit to the community from clubs supporting local sporting teams and providing venues for community group meetings and all the other activities that take place in the local clubs.
However, there are some questions about the efficacy of the current scheme, which is why a review is warranted. Recent reviews of the scheme have described it as opaque and lacking transparency, with the Auditor-General finding that there are questions regarding the value and benefit of some items being claimed as community contributions. That is not a question we can simply ignore. We cannot turn a blind eye to those sorts of findings.
Let us look at some of the examples cited in the Auditor-General’s recent report. These include salaries and wages of coaching and ancillary staff for professional and semi-professional sporting teams, and the maintenance and upkeep of sporting infrastructure where the community cannot necessarily access that sporting infrastructure. I think that raises a question about what is the definition of a community contribution.
Perhaps my favourite example is airline lounge memberships for sports teams’ members. I am sorry, but that does not count as a community contribution. That does not pass the pub test. Let us be frank about it. I know Mr Parton is whipping around and taking vox pop videos on the sports fields around town, but does he actually say,