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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1438 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the work to attract more international rugby was commenced by the previous government in 1998 and my colleague, that old rugby warhorse, Mr Stefaniak, was fairly instrumental in that. It is terrific to see the present government carrying on that work and taking initiatives in this area.

I guess, of course, the only slightly sour note in all of this-and I have expressed concern ad nauseam-is the possible disruption caused by the Gungahlin Drive western route. Hopefully that will not be the case. I wish the government well. I hope the government can get that work cranked up so that we can ensure that our world cup events are run in a smooth and non-disruptive fashion. But be that as it may. Canberra Stadium is a world-class stadium which is capable of taking around 26,000 fans. Not too many stadiums of world-class standard can do that. It is something that we are extremely proud of. We, too, on this side of the house are proud to have been associated with the building and the development of that stadium.

Mr Speaker, ACT sport is dynamic and, like the performance of the Brumbies, performs beyond the scope of the demographics of the ACT. For that reason as well, the ACT deserves to receive world-class sporting activities.

In conclusion, I wish Ms MacDonald and her crew all the best with the "Wanna see a Wallaby" program. I am pleased to see that the Chief Minister and the government are willing to apply as much pressure as they possibly can to convince the Australian Rugby Union that international games of the level that we would wish and deserve to see should be brought to Canberra. Certainly, I will be supporting Ms MacDonald's program. We are very pleased to support the government in its endeavours to bring the Wallabies to Canberra not only for the 2003 world cup but for subsequent international matches as well.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (4.02): Mr Speaker, let me also congratulate Ms MacDonald on her energetic campaign and willingness to get out there and record the support of the community for the appearance by the Australian Wallabies at least once in Canberra during the world cup.

I guess it is unfortunate that the event will be governed by the monetary bottom line, possibly to the exclusion of considerations that might relate to the ongoing and dedicated support of the game in, amongst other places, Canberra. To some extent, this process has been, and remains, a bit of a blind auction, where the organisers anticipate that various jurisdictions will bid to try to attract games but, of course, they will not disclose what the going rate is and who is throwing the money around. One rumour I heard-I think it is a fairly strong rumour-is that Adelaide has thrown up a million dollars for participation in the rugby world cup. As much as we would like to be able to match that, I do not think that falls within the capacity of a territory this size.

So, unfortunately, the monetary elements of the process subsume the fact that the ACT is, at least, the number three rugby jurisdiction in Australia. It is with great delight that we regularly beat the Reds. Unfortunately, we did not beat the Waratahs last time but we might see them again in the next few weeks and the story may well be different.

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