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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2242 ..

Over recent years the options for indoor sports in the Woden Valley have progressively disappeared. Woden’s basketball stadium was demolished, Woden CIT closed and school sports halls are not enough to meet the growing demand for indoor courts for hire. Many clubs have had to leave Woden to find a venue, and some have closed when they were unable to find space to play.

A September 2019 report from the Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment highlighted the need for suitable indoor facilities increasing in the future as a result of climate change. We certainly saw this in the summer of 2019-2020 when some summer sports clubs looked for indoor spaces to maintain their training and fitness while unable to play outdoors due to the bushfire smoke.

Basketball, netball, futsal, gymnastics, badminton, roller derby, fencing, dance, yoga and many other sports and activities all use similar indoor spaces. As a roller derby skater trying to maintain a happy relationship with a badminton player, two sports in strong competition for the same spaces, I can assure you that the increasing pressure on venues for hire is not conducive to harmonious communities.

What the Woden Community Council want, and what I have advocated for publicly since at least 2014, according to the Canberra Times, are indoor sports courts in the Woden town centre that are accessible by public transport, affordable for volunteer-run community sports groups and flexible for use for a diverse range of sports. I look forward to one day seeing a return to a multi-court space shared by basketball, roller derby, fencing and badminton players all at the same time. Having a bit more space to play means that we can focus on competing within our own sports instead of with each other.

I encourage anyone interested in seeing this idea progress further to take a look at the e-petition currently on the Legislative Assembly website and share it with your friends and local sporting groups.

Environment—Bluetts Block

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (4.35): I recently had the pleasure of visiting Bluetts Block in Stromlo. I was delighted to visit with the Canberra Ornithologists Group and Friends of Bluetts Block. They showed me around, they pointed out all of the birds I would have missed, and they were even kind enough to lend me some binoculars. We saw lots of other locals enjoying the area on bushwalks and it certainly seems like a well-loved place. We saw more birds than we expected on a cold morning. Almost at once, we were greeted by a scarlet robin, and then a feeding flock of brown, yellow-rumped and buff-rumped thornbills; a grey shrike-thrush; spotted pardalotes; and weebills. Later on, and further up the hill, we saw white-throated treecreepers, two brown falcons and a grey currawong.

Bluetts Block has high conservation values, and it supports high-quality Commonwealth and ACT critically endangered yellow box–Blakely’s red gum woodland. Canberra Nature Map notes many rare and uncommon plant species that grow there, including late mauve doubletail, rufous midge orchid, montane leafy greenhood, pink caps, milk maids, medusa bog sedge and many more.

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