Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2449 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
The government's ultimate contribution towards that was $10 million. Everything else-the ancillary gymnasiums, shops, whatever-that goes to make up such a large complex was to be provided by the private sector. Tenders were released. I forget the name of the winning tenderer, but one of the proponents, Mr Konstantinou, is in the Assembly. He has written to members in relation to this matter. The organisation that won has already contributed quite large amounts to the pool, which I hope to see built by the end of the year.
I can recall this matter finally being sorted out, but the contracts were not signed until the conclusion of the caretaker period. I remember writing to Mr Quinlan during the caretaker period. Certainly, the initial proponent was acknowledged well prior to that. I can recall this issue being raised at a Belconnen Community Council meeting, and I said then that I could well see why part of the proposal would be to have what is proposed to be, I understand, a small club with machines.
I do not mind saying on the record that I have absolutely no problem with that. I said that publicly at the time and I simply say it again. The Gambling and Racing Commission, which has been alluded to, does have some very strict criteria. I think that it does its job very well on behalf of the community. Ms Dundas has alluded to how strict, in fact, they are.
Let us look at what is being proposed here in relation to this matter. Mr Konstantinou has written to a number of members, myself included, in reference to what he calls these proposed amendments. He has done so to express his frustration, as the developer, with this legislation. He states:
Ms Tucker's view is that having poker machines within the new Belconnen Indoor Pool and Entertainment facility is "not in the public's interest". I find that suggestion totally without merit, and shows a lack of understanding of what the community wants.
The Territory plan allows for a Club to be included as part of the facilities. Our tender submission to Government was based on the successful model of the Kaleen Indoor Recreation Centre, which contains a Club, Indoor Courts, Gymnasium, Swimming Pool and Childcare as part of its facilities. The Club located within the Kaleen facility should act as a precedent, as evidence that this type of configuration within a sporting facility works extremely well. That centre has had five extensions since it was built over 15 years ago, and has had zero vacancy. This is a major achievement when you consider the difficulties faced by other indoor sporting facilities in the region which tend to struggle financially.
He stated that, although Ms Tucker had proposed the legislation, she had not taken the liberty to come on site or be briefed about the project. He went on to say:
Ms Tucker has further suggested that the Club will cause a disruption and distraction as well as interfere with the general purpose of the facility. She makes these comments totally without basis or justification. We believe that Ms Tucker clearly does not understand the consequences of her proposal. We base our comments on the following: