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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 2611 ..

Australian Football Facilities

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister for sport and recreation. Now that ACTAFL, the ACT Australian Football League, has handed over its primary administrative responsibilities to the AFL, can the Minister say whether there has been any meaningful negotiations with the AFL on the upgrading of facilities at Football Park, Phillip, or at Manuka Oval?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. I do not know whether it is quite true to say that ACTAFL has handed over all its responsibilities to the AFL. ACTAFL, of course, has a large number of responsibilities in relation to the code of Australian football in Canberra and will continue to do so. However, they are working in with the AFL, as local cricket is working with the Australian Cricket Board, on upgrading facilities. As you are well aware, Mr Quinlan - I think we might have done this to an extent in estimates, but I do not have any real problem in giving you an update - the 1998-99 budget provides a total of some $8m to cricket and ACTAFL to enable them to upgrade facilities. That is to ensure that ACTAFL can provide TV-standard lighting and other things at Phillip and to enable certain things to be done at Manuka.

As you are well aware, Mr Quinlan, since just after the Port Adelaide game here, since early August, a committee led by Mr John Livy from the AFL and involving members of ACTAFL and cricket has been looking at an upgrade of facilities. They have done a fair amount of work on that. I was hopeful, as they were too - I think I have indicated this to you earlier - of bringing a report back to government on how they would like to see a staged development of those two grounds. We were hopeful of getting that in October. Unfortunately, that did not come to pass, but I do not think that necessarily is too much of a problem. It is important that they get it right and that when they do come to government with their plan it is an agreed plan and they have worked out all the possibilities and all the obstacles and have agreed on a way ahead. I am quite confident that that will in fact be the case.

I hope that they will be in a position to report shortly. I know they have had a number of meetings. Whether they are at a final draft stage I am not absolutely certain, but certainly they will come to government when they are ready and able to do so. It is important that we do get it right for both codes. You are well aware of discussions being held as to what would be the best venues and what can be done at each venue. It is not exactly a simple task. I think they might have been optimistic when they said six to eight weeks initially. I think it is more important that they get it right.

MR QUINLAN: I thank the Minister. He has pretty well covered my supplementary question. Do we presume that no commitments have been made to any group about upgrades at this stage?

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