Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 503 ..
MR STEFANIAK (4.34): Mr Speaker, I am utterly amazed that there are some people in the media, given the Canberra Times editorial, and in this house who seem to think that the issue about the AIS is something that has just reared its head and that no-one has complained about it or raised it before. That is arrant nonsense. My colleague Mr Pratt referred to a submission made last year by the AIS to the planning committee of which Mr Corbell was a member.
Mrs Cross: Also in here, Mr Stefaniak.
MR STEFANIAK: Thank you very much. In fact, it would be interesting to read the Hansard on that. I have in front of me the Hansard of 9 August 2001 and I will read about four paragraphs of it onto the record. My colleague Mrs Cross has shown me a reference in the Hansard of 28 August 2001, but the Hansard of 9 August 2001 refers to an earlier debate. Clearly, the issue was before the Assembly last year. I am amazed that whoever does the editorials for the Canberra Times thinks that this issue has suddenly arisen.
On 9 August 2001, we had a debate on this issue. Mr Corbell was present, as were other members of the present government, who were then in opposition. I was the minister for sport. I will only read the four paragraphs in relation to the AIS on page 2712:
I reiterate what I said when we had some debate about this several months ago in relation to the western route. I was very concerned that Labor supports the western route. I was amazed in some respects because I know the committee had the benefit of submissions from Mr James Ferguson, who was then director of the Australian Sports Commission, and some other people. I reiterate what I think I said in an earlier debate in relation to that; that there is a very distinct and real possibility that were the western route to go ahead we would lose the Australian Institute of Sport.
The institute employs hundreds of people. Lots of the younger athletes there go to our schools. It is of immense benefit to the territory. We were talking about economic benefits from the GMC400. I think those benefits would pale into insignificance compared with the sustained year-in year-out benefit we get from the Australian Institute of Sport, not to mention the magnificent sporting facilities there that territorians have the benefit of using. Also, I think there would be significant problems in terms of the use of things like Bruce Stadium, and we all know we have made a considerable investment in that. It is an excellent stadium.
There are just so many problems, I think, with that western route. I just want to reiterate to members that other states would love to have the Australian Institute of Sport, and there would be a real danger of that occurring were that western route to be picked. There has been a lot of angst over this matter and a lot of very genuine concern. There were some good reasons why the route down O'Connor ridge was problematic. Mr Humphries solved that by taking that out, back in October or November of last year.
I wanted to make those points, Mr Speaker, because I would hate to see this Assembly, or the next Assembly, make the wrong decision which would see the Australian Institute of Sport go to some other state capital.
The issue was raised on 9 August and 28 August. It was certainly around last year. I know that Mr Ferguson was very concerned about it. I know as I talked to him about it. He made a submission to the committee. Despite that, the Labor Party persisted with