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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 20 September 2018) . . Page.. 3923 ..

MS BERRY: It is worth recognising the ongoing investment rolling out week on week into great public sporting infrastructure across Canberra. As I have often said in this place, the ACT community as a whole contributes about 85 per cent of the cost of sports ground maintenance. It is a major contribution. This includes an additional $2.8 million as part of the 2018 ACT budget to pay for additional watering requirements brought about by the harsh, dry conditions that we are experiencing.

I also want to focus on the government’s new sportsground booking system which is soon to be rolled out. This will benefit regular and casual ground hirers across Canberra, with a better interface for their bookings. It will make searching for suitable facilities much better for those who are not used to doing so. We want to encourage more community events in our community spaces. There will be a map-based facility selection and the ability to be integrated with a preferred method of payment.

Importantly, the new system will also offer government staff better data on the way that we manage and hire these great public facilities. We are always seeking to get the best possible result out of a limited sportsground budget. This new system will make sure that the thousands of Canberrans who use these grounds every week are getting the best possible experience and that the broader community is getting the best value for its contribution.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, how do these investments support high participation in sport and active recreation?

MS BERRY: I am sure that everyone here agrees that the investment into sporting infrastructure is a sound investment for good health, inclusion and more social benefits. More than 339,000 Canberrans actively participate in sport and recreation at least once a week, 197,000 of whom participate through an organisation or sporting venue.

The availability and accessibility of sport and active recreation infrastructure is critical when it comes to keeping and growing activity levels within the ACT community. Canberra’s population is growing. It is therefore not surprising that the demand for new and upgraded sporting facilities is growing due to access needs and the impacts of current usage levels on existing facilities. Delivering sporting infrastructure into new developments such as Stromlo assists accessibility for all, regardless of age, gender and ability.

Partnered investment by government with sporting organisations ensures a commitment from the sports towards providing for the needs of its members and broader community, and Phillip Oval is a great example of what can be delivered when government and sport work together, ensuring that the high participation levels of AFL and cricket in the ACT continue to be nurtured.

Last night I was able to join in the launch of the ACT Olympic and Paralympic appeal for Tokyo 2020. Four amazing Canberra athletes gave us another reminder of what investing in quality sport and infrastructure on the ground at the grassroots level brings to our community. I encourage members to get behind our athletes as they strive to be part of the Tokyo Olympic team.

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