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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1100 ..

A plan lets us fund systematically and provides our sports and recreation groups with much-needed clarity rather than having them sing for their supper. Let us come up with a game plan and let our sports and recreation groups get back on the field.

Community sport has a vibrant hub of volunteers—mums, dads, big siblings and supposed retirees, who put aside weekend after weekend for oranges, sausage sizzles and bib-wrangling glory. These are also a lot of the same people who will bend over backwards in a personal capacity to make sure that this great opportunity for community sport is afforded to everyone, including those Canberrans for whom the cost of sports would otherwise price them out of a good time. Season registration is not a negligible sum of money. Even at the casual competition level, consider the cost of uniform, equipment and even reliable transport to and from games and practice, and you start to see how not all Canberrans have the means to afford to play.

I am impressed and inspired by the hard work of sporting groups that I have met with over the last six months. But it should not just be up to them. We, as the government, need to take responsibility for looking after Canberrans from low income households, rather than relying on sports and rec groups to take up the slack. Identifying barriers to participation for these people is the first step in developing good systems to ensure that all Canberrans can be part of our great sports and rec community. It also helps us to support our community organisations to look after their players and volunteers without community organisations having to reach into their pocket.

Sports and recreation are essential to many Canberrans’ physical and mental wellbeing. With a long-term plan for indoor and outdoor sporting facilities informed by a peak body that brings all sporting voices to the table and with confidence that sports opportunities are made available to all Canberrans, regardless of income, I am very excited by the vision for sports and recreation in the ACT. I hope all my colleagues share my enthusiasm. I look forward to the Assembly supporting this motion today.

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (3.51): It is hard to know where to start with this one; I am gobsmacked by it. I have not tried to amend it, as it shows a lack of understanding of the local sporting landscape and the history of this portfolio. I do support more investment in sport and recreation, particularly at grassroots level. The idea of a peak sporting body is not new; in fact it was this government, and Mr Rattenbury as sports minister, who did away with it in 2015!

ACTSPORT ran for almost 30 years as a peak body for sport and recreation. After it was disbanded, most of the decision-making was vested in the Chief Minister’s directorate. As recently as 2018, a new body was formed by the leading participation sports in Canberra. This coalition of nine sports has operated successfully in terms of being visible, being connected and lobbying the government. In 2020 it put a proposal to the government to receive funding as a reformed peak body.

Also on this topic today, I can say that this new body has been very effective. Still, the Canberra Liberals do recognise that change in this space is needed. After years of neglect from this government, we lack the facilities and funding that our community deserve to keep pace with growth and broader demands.

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