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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1824 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

The government's bill does not guarantee the sponsorship funding that women ought to be getting. The opposition's amendment will be a great investment in women's sport. I must commend the amendment. It will be a minor impost on clubs. It will guarantee government revenue, which is also extremely important. Finally, it will benefit women's sport.

MR STEFANIAK (12.13): The principles raised in the scrutiny of bills report were touched on by the Leader of the Opposition and other speakers.

I can see where the Treasurer is coming from. As minister for about 61/2 years, I was always very keen, as the then government was, to promote women's sport by trying to get better airplay, better media coverage and more money for women's sport. The previous government initiated specific programs, including sports grants for women and women's sporting organisations. We initiated the women in sports grants to encourage more women into sport. Under the business programs, I was delighted to see us fund the Canberra Capitals and the ACT women's hockey team. I would imagine the current Treasurer and sports minister would be doing the same as we did to encourage sponsorship of women's sport.

I estimate that $300,000 of the community fund is going to women's sport at present. Joan Perry, who is in the gallery, said it may be about $350,000. That is not a huge amount when you think of all the money going into other sports.

The scrutiny of bills committee drew the attention of the government to the effect this legislation would have in providing that for every $3 a club spends on women's sport it will be credited with spending $4. That will have a significant effect on the potential revenue going to other sporting and community groups. While novel, it has a number of problems. I commend to the Treasurer the scrutiny report, which he may have responded to already. It highlights some problems.

The Leader of the Opposition will be proposing an alternative which protects the revenue going to community and sporting groups from the gaming machine community contribution levy, which goes up, as Mr Pratt has said, to 7 per cent in July.

I was pleased to see in the last report from the gaming commission that there has been a considerable increase in spending by clubs on community activities, especially sporting activities. As Mr Pratt said, sport is the fabric of life in this community. It is terribly important to community wellbeing and in training young people in healthy habits, which is important with growing obesity amongst our young. The money that goes into sporting endeavours from the community contribution fund is of immense benefit to our territory.

There are better ways of helping women's sport than the way the Treasurer is proposing, however admirable the principles behind what he is seeking to do. Again, I highlight that the report of the scrutiny of bills committee raised the potential for damage to revenue that otherwise would go to other sporting activities and other community activities covered by this legislation.

MS TUCKER (12.17): This bill is the result of a Labor Party election commitment. While it is commendable that the party is delivering on its commitments, the Greens are unable to support this bill.

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