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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3047 ..

MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):

transferred to Canberra High oval. But the arrangement with Canberra High has not been renewed, and at this point in time the oval is not in a satisfactory state to conduct competition.

As I mentioned, registration day is this weekend, and the Belwest officials would like to be able to tell their kids where their weekly meetings are to be held. Competition is due to start on 22 September, and there is clearly not enough time and the climate is not conducive to replacing turf at this time of year, as the government discovered about 12 months ago at another venue, even if Canberra High were to be utilised.

Can the minister inform the Assembly why Belwest Little Athletics have not been allocated a field, and can he provide a guarantee to the Assembly that the situation will be resolved before the registration day this weekend?

MR STEFANIAK: I note, Mr Rugendyke, that the Belwest Little Athletics are working in with the bureau of sport. Whether they will actually have a field by then, I simply can't say. The bureau will, obviously, do all it can to assist them.

I am aware that Canberra High School oval, as you quite correctly say, is probably not in a good state for athletics yet. I understand that it will be getting an upgrade which will take about four weeks before it is up to scratch for athletics and other sports. As to when that is occurring, you are probably right: it is not happening now because it is winter.

Another possibility-and it might be a good long-term possibility-which I note has been discussed with the Belwest Little Athletics Club is for Cook oval to be used. The only problem with that is, I think, the running track would be only about 300 metres, but that mightn't be a huge problem for little athletics. That, indeed, is one of our low maintenance ovals which we inherited from the previous Labor government. It is one of two low maintenance ovals that the bureau will be bringing back to full maintenance.

So that might be quite a good long-term solution if they don't want to continue at Canberra High. But my understanding is that there is no drama with them continuing at the Canberra High School oval but that the oval simply does have to be resurfaced, and that will take four weeks.

MR RUGENDYKE: I understand that the government is waiting to base its decision on a possible funding arrangement with a licensed club. That doesn't have a start or completion date for the work on the oval. Why is it the case that the government is relying on private funding rather than simply allocating the government facility to Belwest?

MR STEFANIAK: You might be confusing it with Jamison oval which Wests Rugby Union Club is very keen to take over, although I think the little athletics use that as well as the outside oval at Canberra High which, as I have mentioned earlier, will take some four weeks to get up to scratch. My understanding is that contracts for Wests to take over Jamison oval are being negotiated and as part and parcel of that Belwest Little Athletics will continue to use it. They probably have some arrangement with the Western Districts Rugby Union Club.

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