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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 315 ..

Canberra Cosmos

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for sports. I have not asked him a question for a long time. Minister, I know that it is high on the Government's agenda to keep the Cosmos afloat until the Olympic Games, since we have built so much of our reputation on the games around the game of soccer. Can you tell me how much the ACT Government has committed to supporting the Cosmos, whether by grant or loan, or by guarantee of loans that the Cosmos might raise elsewhere?

MR STEFANIAK: This question has probably been asked before, Mr Kaine. I recollect a guarantee of $600,000 over about three years. Off the top of my head, that seems to ring a bell, Mr Kaine. I think there was one other as well. The Chief Minister can elucidate on one other thing in the business area which she looked after in the last Assembly. I am pleased to see that the crowds have been very good in recent weeks. I go out there each week. One of the sure-fire ways of ensuring the Cosmos not only stay afloat but prosper - and we certainly hope they prosper well and truly past the Olympics - is to have a solid crowd base. I was pleased to see just before Christmas - in fact, I lost a bet on it - a crowd of over 5,000 people. This was during the time when the Cosmos did not look like winning a game.

Mr Moore: Did you back 10,000?

MR STEFANIAK: No. I was fairly close. I thought about 4,500 but I lost badly, because it was well over 5,000.

Mr Corbell: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker, on the grounds of relevance.

MR STEFANIAK: It is relevant to Mr Kaine's question about keeping the Cosmos afloat. Even though until recently there had been a series of losses, the crowds were fairly good, Mr Kaine. You would see 2,000 or so there regularly. Now that they have started winning, the crowds have increased. Obviously, that is very healthy. Having been out there to a couple of games, I think the crowd support even when they did lose indicates that they have got every chance of not only staying afloat but surviving. I found that very positive.

In terms of anything additional to the $600,000, having made about 10 yards up the middle of the field, I will pass the ball over to the Chief Minister so that she can go in under the posts.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stefaniak, you are very close to being offside.

Mr Kaine: Mr Speaker, before the Chief Minister springs to her feet, I would ask you to rule on when the sports Minister is not the sports Minister.

MR SPEAKER: I cannot rule on that, Mr Kaine.

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