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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 1726 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

some inequities and inconsistencies. Accordingly, it came up with a list of fees, which was put out on 31 August, I think. I note, too, that our pool fees and charges had not increased significantly since 1991. Indeed, Mrs Joan Kellett, the president of ACT Swimming Inc., joined in the press release in stating that, although her body would have preferred the fees to stay as they were, thanks to the goodwill and cooperation of the Bureau of Sport, Recreation and Racing the best possible result had been reached. It was a very extensive consultation process, Mr Wood.

Mr Wood: Is it the case, then, that the Minister changed that process the other day?

MR STEFANIAK: No, Mr Wood, surprisingly, despite what your colleague Ms McRae might say. I think she should pay a little more attention and not just go off half-cocked.

Ms McRae: I listened to you on radio. What do you mean?

MR STEFANIAK: I do not know; maybe we were listening to different shows. As I indicated, the net cost to government for running the three indoor pools alone is $1.7m. We also provide subsidies to the Manuka pool, which has been operated by the Taverner family for over 40 years, and also the Dickson pool. Those are two outdoor pools. The consultation process is in place, and the results of that stay.

However, in relation to your supplementary question, Mr Wood, it also became apparent to me that a clause of the contract which applies to both the managers at Dickson and Manuka did indicate that there was some provision for them to propose to government their own fees. If that was appropriate, that was something that government could certainly accept. The bottom line is that, providing we lose no money and providing we do not have to subsidise them any more - they are on subsidy agreements at present - there may well be no problems with that. I am waiting to see whether they both take that further. The bottom line is that we lose $1.7m a year in relation to pool fees. The Government is not going to be subsidising anyone to any greater extent than we have in the past. This whole concept of pool fees is about ensuring that our facilities are run more efficiently so that we can get that very large figure down, not only in this way but also through a number of other initiatives.

Swimming Pool Fees

MR CONNOLLY: Mr Speaker, my question is also to the Minister for Sport and again relates to swimming pool fees, so he can keep his book open. In relation to swimming pool fees, can the Minister explain why he said on radio that entry prices can be negotiated? Does this mean that any individual can negotiate the price of any gazetted fee?

MR STEFANIAK: No, it certainly does not, Mr Connolly. The people who run those two outdoor pools, Manuka and Dickson, can negotiate with government. They can come to us and say, "We want to charge this much".

Ms McRae: That is not what you said on radio.

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