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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1437 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

stand here today and outline the positives of Canberra, Canberra Stadium, and our city as a national capital they will help improve our chances and help to repair some of the damage done here over the last two days.

Mr Speaker, a world cup is a rare event and one in Australia is even rarer. We have shown, as a nation, that Australia can host the world's best Olympics and I am sure we will be hosting the best ever rugby world cup. I hope the IRB and the ARU recognise that it is important and just that a Wallabies game be allocated to Canberra. The opportunity for Canberra to be part of the 2003 rugby world cup will allow us to once more share our great city with a global audience of billions. It will allow us to realise the many economic benefits that an event of this scale can bring and provide a lasting legacy for the development of rugby union in the ACT and surrounding region. A game featuring our world champion Wallabies can only enhance that opportunity.

MR PRATT (3.55): Mr Speaker, I rise to speak in support of Ms MacDonald's matter of public importance. I would congratulate her for proposing this matter and I would also congratulate her for the way in which she has mobilised the "Wanna see a Wallaby" program.

We support this MPI. We support the spirit in which Ms MacDonald has addressed this matter because we see that bringing international-level games to the ACT is important if we are to reach our sporting, business and tourism potentials. It is important to bring to Canberra international matches of the game they play in heaven. We cannot but help support the initiative that has been taken on such an imaginative venture.

I must say that I was a very early convert to the "Wanna see a Wallaby" campaign. In fact, a couple of Friday evenings ago, I too, like many Brumbies fans, was well and truly tackled by Ms MacDonald's husband outside the Canberra Stadium and encouraged to sign the "Wanna see a Wallaby" petition. I was extremely pleased to do that. I hope the campaign is able to pressure the Australian Rugby Union to ensure that significant international matches of the 2003 rugby world cup are played in Canberra.

Of course, Mr Speaker, we can see how important rugby is becoming here in the ACT. It has always been a significant sport at the community level. The success of the Brumbies in the last few years, their ability to entertain the ACT public, mobilise ACT public support and to do as well as they have done in Super 12 matches, clearly demonstrates the skills and the scope of ACT sport. For no other reason than simply that, the ACT deserves to receive significant international-level games during the world cup.

Mr Speaker, on Monday I was very fortunate to pick up some rather interesting news. I was fairly impressed by what I heard and I consequently put out a media release about an interesting scheme known as New Zealand footy flights. An organisation in the ACT has been able to put together a series of charter flights involving the flying of Kiwi rugby fans across to Canberra for games at the Super 12 level-certainly for games commencing on Friday and then beyond-and hopefully for world cup games next year. I look forward to seeing fanatical, obsessive Kiwi rugby fans invading the ACT and hopefully bringing a few NZ dollars with them. This is another venture that hopefully will be added to our creative programs of the future.

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