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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2231 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

It is a basic question. How did you, Minister, as part of Cabinet allow this Government to dig ourselves so much into the financial mire when we do not even have an idea as to our hold over the property itself, knowing that the more we spend the more leverage the actual owners have over us? It has to be one of the dumbest things done in government in Australia in this century. To compound that, how did you get yourself into a situation where you spent $1.7m on marketing - I understand, and I stand to be corrected and would love to hear it, that we spent about $0.7m on advertising and promotion and $1m on the people who were doing it, a cool "mill" going straight out of town - when, in fact, it turns out that we gave them nothing to sell? Everything that was worth marketing at Bruce Stadium was ceded to the codes that are going to play there, but we still spent $1.7m on marketing.

It has to be the craziest process - first to do it up without owning it and then to hire some of the biggest names in Australia to market what? Nothing. Of course, they threw up their hands months ago. It did not become public. We are just getting to the detail as we trawl through the myriad of papers that are being delivered at a very slow rate. In conclusion, I have to say that I am disappointed that we are not focusing on our own economy and we are not focusing on our own academy, the ACT Academy of Sport, and I do ask the Minister, if he could, to explain his role as Minister for sport in getting us exactly where we are today with Bruce Stadium.

MR KAINE (9.54): Mr Speaker, I will direct most of my remarks to the Department of Education and Community Services. I will make some remarks, however, about the entire budget. This budget is a rather interesting budget, for many reasons. We have three departments with budgets in excess of $300m, but we have one department, one agency, that has a budget of over half a billion dollars, that is, the one that we are currently debating, and that agency has responsibility for sport. I think that in that connection the one thing that will characterise this budget compared with any of the other budgets that we have dealt with in the last 10 years is the fact that we have appropriated somewhere between $40m and $50m - I am not sure how much - for a stadium which will be used by rugby league players, rugby union players and soccer players, and in the entire debate to this point we have not heard a word from the Minister for sport.

It is a very strange system of government that we have when we are being asked to spend that much money on a sporting facility and it is quite clear that the Minister for sport has no responsibility for or interest in the matter whatsoever. I think that says something about the nature of government. I have to reiterate that I believe that that is what is going to mark this budget as being different from any other budget that we have dealt with in the last 10 years.

I am interested in whether the Minister for sport, when he gets to his feet shortly to address this element of expenditure - in excess of $0.5 billion, which is getting close to one-third of the total on-budget expenditure of the Government - will have anything at all to say about not only the expenditure on Bruce Stadium but also the consequential expenditure that will flow from that redevelopment project, that is, the other $9m, I think it is, that has been appropriated for or committed to be expended on the changing of the purpose of Manuka Oval as well.

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