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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1103 ..

Local sporting groups are often a way for new residents to meet new people, to make friends and establish lifelong social networks. They provide a sense of belonging, identity and pride. A large number of the Canberra population spend their evenings and weekends running kids around to various sports. Different sports require different levels of infrastructure and, given the thriving sporting environment in the ACT, there is significant competition for financial resources, facilities and support across Canberra.

There are small, minor upgrades and investments on which I am more than happy to work with local groups to raise awareness and notify them of relevant grant opportunities. However, there are also bigger projects that require significant investment, such as the Weston Molonglo Football Club’s request for lights on additional ovals so that they can field games and training at night.

I am committed to advocating for the needs of sporting groups in the electorate of Murrumbidgee. I am committed to promoting their activities through my social media and I am committed to having regular ongoing dialogue with these groups. I support the motion to ensure we continue to collaborate with and explore options to further recognise the sport and recreation sector peak body in the ACT.

Given the varying nature of our diverse sporting groups, there are often competing demands for resources. It is important that we explore options to ensure that all the interests are met and represented in a collaborative and coordinated way. I will be particularly interested in the government’s report examining barriers to participation for people from low income households and what can be done to address this.

I thank Mr Davis for bringing this motion to the Assembly and offer my support.

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (4.02): I could not let this opportunity go by without rising to note the hypocrisy from the Greens when it comes to sport and local sporting clubs. I would concede that there are a number of pretty good things in this motion. Madam Speaker, you have already heard that the Liberals are not going to oppose it, but I just love it when my friend Mr Davis stands up here in this place and makes out that he cares for our local sporting organisations. I understand that this motion is not, at its core, about sports funding. It is difficult to find what its core is. But when we are talking about the problems that are facing most grassroots sports organisations, for many of them it is money. It is access to funding.

Luckily, in our town—if Mr Rattenbury were here, he would give me the eye roll—we still have a relatively strong clubs sector, which does ensure that many of these sporting clubs get access to the funding that they need. However, a strong part of the CLAG agreement involved a somewhat stealthy program to have our clubs transition away from gaming. I do not believe for a single moment that Mr Rattenbury’s utopian vision of that transition will actually materialise. What I am saying is that I do not believe it will be nearly as successful as he is anticipating, but let us for a moment consider: what if it is?

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