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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (30 April) . . Page.. 238 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

emphasis on sport over the last three years. We have made some significant improvements in a wide range of areas, ranging from the facilities which have been completed and the magnificent facilities which are in the process of being completed now through to having the highest participation rate in sport in Australia. Some 40.6 per cent of Canberrans actively participate in sport and recreation. That is 3.1 per cent higher than our nearest rival, the Northern Territory, at about 37.5 per cent.

Particularly pleasing has been the increase in women playing sport, which is an area that a lot of people around Australia identified as being a bit of a problem area. That has gone up 9 per cent, I think, over the last three years. We are well in front of the national average there and again, I think, top the poll in terms of participation. We have some 21 teams now in national competitions. Really, Mr Osborne, how long is a piece of string? I could go on forever. We have the economic impact study which we provided $50,000 for ACTSport to commission. That indicated an economic impact of some $824m per annum generated in the ACT as a result of sporting activities.

I could go on forever, Mr Osborne, but I think the facts speak for themselves. I think it is quite clear that this Government places a very high emphasis on sport. I conclude by referring to another major improvement, namely, the Government's policy on physical education in schools which commenced at the end of 1995, with the first full year of implementation being 1997. It will pay considerable dividends in the years to come in terms of there being healthier children.

MR OSBORNE: That was a very impressive answer, Minister. If that is so, why have you downgraded the importance of sport in your portfolio, so that the Bureau of Sport now reports to a mid-level bureaucrat in the Department of Education instead of at the chief executive level as in the past?

MR STEFANIAK: The short answer to that, Mr Osborne, is that I have not. I have been very particular to ensure that in the new arrangements not only does the bureau report to a very senior officer - - -

Mr Osborne: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think the Minister may have inadvertently misled, because my understanding is that the Bureau of Sport no longer reports to the chief executive of the Department of Education but that it reports to a mid-level bureaucrat. In the past, I believe, it reported to the chief executive of BASAT, but it no longer reports to the chief executive of the new department. That is what I want an answer on.

MR STEFANIAK: It is interesting that the bureau actually reports to two people. It reports to the manager of facilities and other things in the Education Department, Mr Trevor Wheeler, and reports direct to the chief executive officer as well. I will get you a flow chart which will show you that, if you like, Mr Osborne. Regardless of that bureaucratic structure, the importance of sport is hardly something that this Government is going to downgrade. I will give you that flow chart and you will be able to see exactly where it reports.

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