Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1101 ..
With more local talent available, the professionalisation of the sports industry and the University of Canberra offering a leading sports management degree, there certainly is a case to re-establish a broader peak body organisation. I do, however, have concerns and will write to the minister about these, following this debate, to make sure that they are noted.
Currently, there are 72 registered sports in the ACT and most would not qualify as major sports. There is no formal channel for these sports to lobby the government, except through national peak organisations. Worse still, there is no clear avenue for bodies representing recreation activities. If a new peak body is formed, it must include all sports and it must also engage with recreation groups.
As I noted earlier, ACTSPORT was disbanded in 2015, with a key reason being their success in professionalising sport in the ACT. Therefore the forming of such a body should be looked at with caution. A reduction in funding to ACT bodies, big and small, may impact on their ability to employ staff, many of whom are part time. Most importantly, any new body must be run at arm’s length by independent active sporting bodies that represent all sports not just the largest or most financially successful. There is scope for a new peak body to provide a strategic and holistic view. I worry that a new peak body may become a vehicle—and cop the blame—for this government to continue to delay investment in community facilities.
My support of this motion has limits. I do think that the assessment of a new body is a good idea, but consideration must be given to the risk factors that I have outlined. However, what makes me frustrated is when Labor and the Greens start talking about facilities and infrastructure. Sadly, this is mostly talk, with very little action.
The Canberra Liberals recognise that for far too long there has been a reactive approach to facilities and funding in the ACT. The lack of adequate sporting facilities across Canberra must be addressed in a timely manner. Investment has failed to keep pace with population growth and trends in participation. Funding has been sporadic and poorly recognises local clubs or community interests. By waiting for this body to be formed before developing a plan, we could see another whole term before anything is built. The delays, endless studies and reports on sporting facilities, without timely outcomes, are shameful. The government conducts feasibility studies, desktop reviews and surveys but rarely delivers recommendations or outcomes.
This motion covers climate change and sport. Weather and smoke certainly have been factors of late. In fact the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment released a report on this issue. This 2019 document had some great suggestions, none of which have been acted on by this government.
This motion talks about barriers to participation, but not the main one—this government. This Labor-Greens government already administers a wide range of grants. However, most of these grants require professional quotes to be provided, rather than allowing clubs to coordinate their own projects and working bees. Grants aimed at addressing participation across a range of cohorts have failed to address real needs, and the proposal in this motion to examine barriers for low income households