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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (5 September) . . Page.. 3159 ..

Mr Moore: Answer that one, Solomon.

MR HUMPHRIES: And all in three minutes. I am happy to, Mr Speaker. Members will be aware that there is a matter before the Supreme Court.

Ms McRae: Again?

MR HUMPHRIES: Again, yes. "Still" is a better word. My department and I have met with both the ACT Rugby League and the ACT Leagues Club to try to resolve the dispute on several occasions, but my charming manner and excellent mediation skills have not been successful on this matter so far. Mr Speaker, the ACT Leagues Club has recently moved away from further negotiations to resolve an acceptable subdivision proposal. I have spoken to a solicitor for that club, and I understand that he has stated that they are now seeking a quick resolution of the ownership dispute through the courts.

I asked my department to seek advice from the ACT Government Solicitor. I asked my department to seek that advice on 13 August, and the advice was received. I am working through the issues that the advice has given rise to. I hope that it will be possible to agree with the parties that a variation to the Territory Plan should be initiated which would allow for the continuation of the club at one end of the site and for the use for general sporting activities, particularly related to one proposed new user, on the rest of the site. Mr Speaker, the issue is complicated by the fact that at this point the parties are not able to agree on how that should proceed. Did you ask about car parking, Mr Osborne?

MR OSBORNE: No; that is all right. Thank you for that, Mr Humphries. My supplementary question is: At what stage in the history of this dispute was the Government approached about changing the lease to allow the oval to become a car park during the day?

MR HUMPHRIES: Thank you for that supplementary question. Mr Speaker, members will be aware that Northbourne Oval, in part, is being used to allow paid car parking on it - at least car parking which comes at a cost, in the sense that something has to be done to hand over money. As with other sporting facilities, car parking is permitted on the lease for users of the oval and members of the Leagues Club.

Some time ago my department received complaints about parking at the oval. It was alleged that people working in Civic were getting, effectively, discount parking by being able to pay some money to the club for the right to park on the lease. That gave rise to some concern. The suggestion was that, in effect, the Leagues Club instituted a special category of membership which would allow members to park on the site whether or not they were using the club's facilities. That does give me some concern, Mr Speaker, and I have indicated that I wish the issue to be followed through. If that is what is happening, if, effectively, subsidised car parking is being provided, then the practice must cease. Use of the car park should be related solely to use of the club and not otherwise. Using club membership to access the car park is a bit like belonging to, say, the late night shoppers club at Coles. Mr Speaker, I will be tracking that down if I can, and as soon as I have advice on the best way to proceed I will follow through with members who are interested.

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