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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 876 ..

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (4.20): Mr Berry spoke for about 13 minutes and I would probably agree with about 11/2 minutes of what he said. He started off all right, but then went off on some amazing tangents. I fail to see how things such as an arts centre at Ainslie Primary School, the insurance levy or the Downer Preschool closure, of all things, are remotely relevant to conducting events.

Mr Berry spoke about people outside the Territory thinking that we are becoming a bit of a laughing-stock. I have talked to a few people from New South Wales about, for example, the Downer Preschool closure. They saw reports on that on television and could not believe how an Assembly could take a full morning to debate the Government suspending for 12 months the closure of a preschool when we had another 80 or so preschools in the Territory, three of which were in proximity to that one, whereas in the State of New South Wales people often travel fairly long distances to preschools and pay about $47 a week for them, compared with the $4 we pay here. So, in terms of the Assembly being a bit of a circus, have a look at yourself, Mr Berry, and have a look at some of the criticisms you have made in relation to the various topics we have discussed over the last four years of this Government. I fail to see what that has to do with conducting events.

I will refer to a couple of the points Mr Berry made, Mr Speaker. It is amazing how the Labor Party keeps harping about the Acton Arena - or the futsal slab, as it is colloquially called. It is absolutely incredible. I can recall when it was first raised. I think it was during an Estimates Committee meeting that someone said that they thought it was a car park initially and that, of course, would not have caused them a problem. In fact, a car park would have cost about the same as it did, which was about $250,000, plus $60,000 for a surface that could be put down and taken up and used elsewhere. It can be used in schools and it can be used by EPIC; in fact, that is exactly what occurs. For the amount of money we have actually spent, I think we have got very good use from it. Who can forget the signs put on the flagpoles outside the Acton Arena in, I think, January 1998 by a number of sporting bodies about $3m in economic activity? Quite clearly, I do not think that it was a particular waste of money. In fact, I am absolutely amazed at the way the Opposition keeps harping about the futsal slab. They have got an absolutely one-track mind, and that is really rather sad.

Mr Berry mentioned the Feel the Power campaign. I agree that a lot of people did not like the idea of having that slogan on their numberplates. However, I think he is wrong in saying that it was not successful outside the ACT. The actual advertising campaign - the advertisements which were shown on television - was, I understand, reasonably successful; so I would hardly say that, in terms of getting people into the ACT, it was particularly a problem.

The Opposition continually criticises Bruce Stadium. Yes, there have been a few teething problems there. I was pleased to see that some of the more obvious ones had been worked out after two football matches had been played there. I was pleased to read that in the Canberra Times this morning. Obviously, in a development like that there will be teething problems. When they are worked out we will have a truly world class facility. What will it host? It will host probably the biggest event of all - Olympic soccer. Canberra is to be an Olympic city. The fact that games will be televised

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