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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1099 ..

The current funding model allocates funding on a case-by-case basis rather than considering the bigger picture. The Planning for indoor facilities and other sports and recreation infrastructure report commissioned by the ACT government in 2018 tells us:

It is a common problem for sports and recreation planning that land is not always fit-for-purpose or sufficient in size … Often, a generic allocation of land for sports and recreation is made without a clear understanding of the area needed, the purpose for which it is to be used, and its suitability.

This report identifies a hole in how we currently manage facilities. It echoes frustrations I have heard from community members and key stakeholders—having a new facility shoehorned into the cheapest available land block could miss the mark on what the community has asked for and really needs.

I also reflect on concerns that this kind of funding could be dipped into around election time as a way of locking up certain constituencies. That is not an accusation against any side of politics; all sides of politics are guilty of those kinds of funding announcements around election time. But it does not help our sporting clubs and it does not help them to build for future prosperity.

I am as delighted as anyone to see new sports facilities in my electorate. To paraphrase Bob Katter, let a thousand Olympic-class, twin-sheet ice sport facilities bloom, for all I care. Ice hockey and figure skating teams have worked hard to make that happen. I am excited to see a permanent dragon boating home, a great skate park or reinvigorated tennis courts. I am sure Ms Davidson will back me up when I say I am excited about the developments happening at the Phillip District Enclosed Oval, especially the construction of long overdue female change rooms so that women do not have to change on the side of the rugby field.

These are undeniably instances where the government have identified a real community need and they have worked really hard to meet it. I commend the government for that. We would also love to see the development of a multisport facility in the Woden area and for the government to embrace the opportunities that cycling and mountain biking offer ACT both for local use and for tourism.

Let us also briefly talk about the Mpowerdome in Fadden. As Canberra’s largest existing multisport facility, it boasts space for tennis, netball, futsal, cricket, AFL and more—great school programs, a cafe and community space for hire. Since its closure in 2016, the Mpowerdome has remained a grossly underutilised space in the heart of my electorate. As you might have guessed by my questions during recent sitting periods, my constituents and I grow further concerned about the lack of open sports and recreation facilities in Tuggeranong in particular.

The underutilisation of privately owned sports and recreation facilities should be considered in the development of a comprehensive facilities management plan. That comprehensive facilities management plan is just that—comprehensive. By looking at all of the options available to us, we ensure that all sports and recreation groups can get the resources they need when they need it and where it makes the best use of our existing assets.

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