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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2445 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

However, we need to encourage children especially to do something, whether it be a recreation or some health-related course. Perhaps you did go a little bit too hard initially, but I hope you take this into consideration. I applaud your decision on the ACT Academy of Sport. I was a big advocate for something being done about formalising it because we have the Olympics just around the corner. I know that the people of the ACT - - -

Mr Berry: Set up by Labor.

MR OSBORNE: Set up by Labor, absolutely. However, I am led to believe, Mr Berry, that the funding used to come from all over the joint, and I am pleased that Mr Stefaniak has seen fit to give them some sort of future. I am a little disappointed about the maintenance of some of the grounds. Some of them are not fit for cows to graze on, yet the majority of our young people are playing sport on them. That is something I hope we do not end up debating if somebody gets hurt.

I would like to encourage better usage of Bruce Stadium. I hope the Minister is working towards a satisfactory goal on that front. I share with Ms McRae some concerns about the contracting out of a lot of our facilities, but that is something you can try to convince me on over the next few months. I am very wary of taking what you say as gospel, given your Government's recent history. We will wait and see.

The main thing I want to reinforce is that I do believe in school sport. I went through a school where it was a regular occurrence every Thursday afternoon, so I am somewhat biased; but I think it is very important that we take into consideration that it is not something we can just lump on the schools. Extra funding needs to be looked at, and the children who are not interested in any sport need to be taken into consideration.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (9.43): I thank members for their comments. There were some fairly positive comments from Mr Osborne, but I do not think there were too many positive comments from Ms McRae. She did not have too much to say, which is understandable, because basically it is, in difficult times, a good sports budget, which has been acknowledged by the sporting community. I will address a few of the points those members raised.

I have made a number of points in relation to low maintenance ovals and the decision of the previous Government. That is of concern to me, as it is to Ms McRae and Mr Osborne, although Ms McRae was part of that Government. There are a number of things that can be done. One of them is what was done with Macquarie school, where the school, Sport, Recreation and Racing and Urban Services got together and, by pooling their resources and using a bit of commonsense, have plans to get about half of their fairly large playing area, which includes one complete playing field, back to a very reasonable condition. So there are a number of short- to medium-term things that can be done there, and certainly the Government is looking at some more long-term things which better maintenance and more efficient maintenance of our ovals will provide. We are hoping that, by saving money there and also saving money through our other facilities,

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