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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1313 ..

Stromlo Forest Toilet

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (7.00): Coincidentally, I did consider rising in the adjournment debate today to talk about the delay in the methadone program and the wait that people have. I think it is perhaps an associated issue.

Mr Moore: It is reducing but not fast enough.

MR STANHOPE: I will leave it perhaps to the debate on the estimates. I would be pleased to hear your response on that. I rose to speak about the women's jogalong. The women's jogalong is a sporting event that has been conducted in Canberra for 20 years or so. I have quite a long association with it. It is an event conducted for women. It is a handicap run conducted in Stromlo Forest. It is over six kilometres. It attracts once a month upwards of 200 women. It is perhaps the most significant and successful running event for women and girl runners anywhere in Australia in terms of encouraging participation in sport by women. It is a very successful event. It has grown very strongly over the last 10 years or so. I was the director of the jogalong for five or six years, an association which I really enjoyed. The jogalong is held in Stromlo Forest. There is only one toilet in Stromlo Forest. It is a feature of running that one does often need to use it.

Mr Humphries: There are lots of bushes.

MR STANHOPE: There are lots of bushes, and I guess that is the point I am coming to, Mr Humphries. The need for toilets in the bush or out in the forest is not an issue that affects men nearly as much as it does women. This is a very successful event, as I said. ACT Forests have constructed a very good toilet facility there. They have now, however, for reasons that I think are petty and mean spirited and that will certainly impact on the success of the women's jogalong, decided to impose what I can only regard as a toilet fee for the use of the picnic area in Stromlo Forest, which has been used once a month for this most successful women's running event. A fee is now to be charged for the use of the toilet.

I rise to ask whether the Chief Minister, having regard to her responsibilities for the status of women, Mr Stefaniak, having regard to his responsibilities for sport, and Mr Smyth, having regard to his responsibilities for forests, can find some way of actually averting what I regard as a completely inappropriate, mean-spirited and in some ways discriminatory charge on toilets, a charge that will require the organisers of this run to charge the women and girls. It is not easy for a lot of people to get out and take up physical exercise. Minister, as you would know, there are large groups of women who through socialisation and through a whole range of other issues do not find it easy to get out and participate in mass sport. The women's jogalong is perhaps one of the most successful events in Canberra at achieving that.

I think it was runner-up for the Prime Minister's women's sports award. I think for the ACT Government to impose this sort of fee on the women's jogalong is very regrettable. We are talking here probably about a couple of hundred dollars a month. I just think that the Government in its policy-making should have some way of avoiding that sort of charge on events such as this.

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