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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3197 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

if the community sporting grounds, such as fields and infrastructure, are not in a condition to be enjoyed and to be utilised?

As a community, Mr Speaker, we have a responsibility to develop healthy, competitive attitudes and competitive spirit in our youth. Contrary to the timid concerns of some in this place, as clearly illustrated, I'm afraid to say, in the recent Health Committee report into youth health matters, we do need to foster team spirit and we do need to foster competition rather than encourage our children to shy away from competition, because it is our duty to prepare our children for a fiercely competitive world.

Sport is the foundation for preparing our children to meet challenges and the larger challenges later in life that they must be prepared to meet. This competition needs to be supported by proper grounds, infrastructure and programs, Mr Speaker. Consequently, to meet this community obligation, the community depends on the government to provide the infrastructure and the ovals to support such community sporting programs.

At present, Mr Speaker, the government seems to be perhaps a little concerned about the maintenance and the upgrading of sporting fields in Canberra. Does this mean, for example, that the government is not serious about planning for a robust regime of school and community sporting programs, including for our youth? Mr Speaker, we need to encourage schools to be more robust in their physical education and sporting programs, for all of the reasons I have previously mentioned.

The government rightly points out the challenges presented by the severe drought. I understand the difficulties that this puts forward. While the government is trying to grip these challenges, I feel that they must do so more vigorously. I disagree with Mr Wood's comments, which would indicate that ovals are less important than household gardens. It is much easier for me to take in hand restrictions and still keep my garden in reasonable shape. It is not easy to cut water to ovals and then undertake the massive task of trying to recover ovals which have been dustbowls.

The community, and particularly youth sport, cannot be disrupted. We need to further encourage youth community sport rather than further impede it. I, for one, do not mind exercising further disciplines in household water maintenance.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the government must provide properly maintained and upgraded sporting fields to all our school and community groups to implement such programs.

MS DUNDAS (4.24): We are discussing today the need to properly maintain Canberra sporting fields, and we seem to be focusing the discussion on the need for water to maintain the upkeep of those fields and to keep them green. I've raised a number of questions with the Minister for Environment in relation to the use of grey water on our sporting fields and how that is going to be implemented. I'm looking forward to perhaps broadening the debate to look at how we utilise grey water in the ACT to meet concerns about the drought and water restrictions.

But I'd also like to talk about the maintenance, not just in terms of the grass but of the sporting fields that are being utilised in the ACT and how it appears that governments,

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