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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 2289 ..

Paper and Statements by Minister and Member

MR HUMPHRIES (Acting Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, and pursuant to subsection 47(3) of the Financial Management Act 1996, I present an approval of a guarantee under an agreement between the Australian Capital Territory and St George Bank Ltd. I ask for leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank members. For the information of members, Mr Speaker, I stress that this is a guarantee, not a loan, grant or any other form of financial assistance. This is an extension of an existing guarantee that is due to expire on 31 October 1998. It is a guarantee under an agreement between the Australian Capital Territory and the St George Bank Ltd, and the extension is effective until 31 October 2000. Mr Speaker, this is an approval for guarantee of payment by the Canberra Cosmos Pty Ltd of $200,000.

The Government's decision to continue to provide a guarantee represents a strong commitment by this Government to soccer in Canberra. This support is particularly relevant given Canberra's role in hosting the 2000 Olympic Soccer Tournament. The Cosmos are Canberra's representatives in the national Ericsson Cup. Cup matches are televised into Asia and aid in the promotion of the teams and their home cities. There is a significant promotional spin-off for those cities, including Canberra. Soccer is the most widely played international sport, and the Cosmos and the 2000 Olympics are Canberra's opportunity to participate in the sport. The Cosmos now have Bruce Stadium as their home venue, a facility that provides a world class playing surface and the opportunity to expand their local support base. The facility and this guarantee will assist the Cosmos in their endeavours to compete nationally and to build soccer in the Canberra region.

MR QUINLAN, by leave: Mr Speaker, I want to make a couple of comments. I have asked in this house before for full detail of the support Cosmos has received, directly or indirectly. I do not think I have received it all yet. There has been quite an amount of money and guarantee flow to Cosmos. I am very happy to see sport prosper in the ACT. I am very happy to see us have elite teams that younger people can aspire to.

I notice that this relates to Cosmos Pty Ltd. I understand that the president is one Mr Ian Knop who has had a lot of association with this Government. We need to be satisfied that there is an effective plan to support this sort of funding. I very happily went on the telly to support the Cannons, and I think we should try to keep the Cannons afloat, but we still require to see plans in place that reasonably guarantee that we are working towards success. They should not be plans built on hope. They should be plans built on some program and some assessment of the future opportunities.

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