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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2960 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

The old Bruce Stadium, at a squeeze, could have taken possibly 25,000, but has been known to take 20,000 on regular occasions. When you upgrade a stadium, do you upgrade it for the requirements of five years ago, for the current requirements or for the requirements of the next 10 or 20 years? This Government, when we go down the path of significant expenditure - and there is no doubt that the $34m that its cost for the upgrade is a significant expenditure - will be looking to the longer term. We looked at what we needed at Bruce Stadium today, tomorrow and in 10 years' time.

We were also very well aware of the requirements of the Raiders if we were to maintain our rugby league team in the ACT. Recently at the Raiders prize-giving Kevin Neil made that comment exactly. He said that if it was not for the ACT Government and the upgrade of Bruce Stadium they would - - -

Mr Stanhope: Kevin Neal said he wanted 25,000 seats?

MS CARNELL: That is not what I said. He said that the Raiders could easily not be in Canberra. It appears that those opposite could not care about that but I do and this side of the house does, because the Raiders produce something like $19m worth of revenue for the ACT every year. Similarly, the Brumbies produce significant revenue, significant enjoyment and significant jobs for this city. We have a stadium that is not only right for us now but right for the ACT in the future.

MR STANHOPE: I ask a supplementary question. I wonder whether the Chief Minister will confirm for the Assembly whether her Government's decision to upgrade Bruce was to win Olympic soccer events or to meet the requirements of News Ltd and the National Rugby League.

MS CARNELL: I just answered that question and I have answered it a lot of times. The reason for the upgrade of Bruce Stadium was a mixture of all of the above. It was for the Brumbies, the Raiders and the Olympic soccer and to ensure we had a stadium that would give the ACT the capacity to pull major matches or major events in the future.

I am sure that Mr Stefaniak and Mr Osborne remember that putting seats all the way around Bruce Stadium was not a new proposal. It has been on the wall in the Raiders box for as long as I have been going to Raiders matches, since the early 1990s. It is a plan that has been on the table for a long time. Everybody realised that in the longer term we would need to do it to ensure that the Raiders, the Brumbies and others had a stadium that was appropriate, that could produce corporate dollars and that would ensure that we kept an NRL team in the ACT and a Super 12 team as well. We have ensured that that is the case. I am proud of that.

It is not the Raiders that look like getting the chop, as some Sydney teams are. The Raiders are here because Bruce Stadium can meet all of the requirements of the NRL and achieve the corporate sponsorship that the Raiders need. Of course, the Government is right behind the team. I am proud of that. I cannot believe those opposite are not.

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