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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (1 May) . . Page.. 1299 ..

MR STEFANIAK: Thanks very much, Mr Hird. My colleague Mr Moore interjects, rather quietly for him, that it was very much a combined effort involving also Health and Urban Services, which I acknowledge. On Friday last, 27 April, Mr Smyth and I received a report from the National Heart Foundation titled A Review of Public Exercise Stations and Trails in the ACT. The ACT government provided a $40,000 Active Australia grant to the National Heart Foundation to undertake that review. It identified some 19 public exercise stations in the ACT, most of which were built in the late 1970s and early 1980s. People are probably well aware of those.

The results of the review indicated that the majority of the ACT community did not commonly use exercise stations around the ACT. Exercise stations consist of logs on which you do step-ups. At some stations you can step through logs. I do not mind that one so much.

Mr Moore: What about bench presses?

MR STEFANIAK: I do not know about bench presses. I do not think you can do bench presses. You would need to bring your own weights. You can also do chin-ups there.

Let me digress slightly. As I indicated at the launch, I can understand why some of these stations are not as popular as they could be. I always had trouble myself with chin-ups. I could never see why anyone would want to run around a perfectly good walking trail and then go through some of these amazing exercise stations. As I was saying at the launch on Friday, back in the early 1980s I was doing an officer and NCO mortar course at the infantry centre in Singleton. As anyone who has been in the army would appreciate, the PTIs, the physical training instructors, are all bombardiers. They are in artillery. They have the rank of corporal but are called bombardier.

We had to do our physical training tests, which for someone my age included 10 chin-ups on exercise bars. I could do the 5-kilometre run, no worries. I could do the sit-ups no problem. But chin-ups are very difficult if you are a big bloke.

Mr Hargreaves: What, getting your feet off the ground?

MR STEFANIAK: That was a real problem. I was an officer then, so the bombardier called me sir. He said, "Sir, extend your arms fully; otherwise you fail." I did that and my feet touched the ground. The bombardier said, "Get your feet off the ground, sir. You can't cheat." I said, "Bombardier, I am over six feet tall. This is for a six-foot tall person." He failed me, which I thought was most unreasonable, because I found myself in a catch-22 situation. I tried to say, "What if I lift my knees and do it that way?" But no.

I can understand why people do not like some of those exercise stations. They serve a purpose, sure, but it seems that people do not particularly use them. The key recommendation from the review was that further development of walking and cycling paths is likely to encourage greater physical activity in our community. We see building cycling paths and walking paths as a priority. Canberra, with its beautiful climate of four distinct seasons and its great natural beauty, is ideal for outdoor activity, be it walking or cycling.

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