Page 4774 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 13 December 2005

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Motor sport

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.25): I rise tonight to mention a couple of matters. Firstly, members may be aware that, back in May—and I think this cropped up in about August—the motorcycle track at Fairbairn Park had some work done on it and some material was dumped that had some asbestos in it. I am not quite sure how it got through the checking which was required. That was done through no fault whatsoever of the motorcycle track people. Apparently the responsible person, who runs a small company, has been located, and I would have hoped common sense would prevail.

I understand that an arrangement was made between that person and Environment ACT to take away the offending material, which is lodged in over 1,000 tonnes of soil. It was quite a big job and they were going to worry about the cost of it later. That seemed quite reasonable, but I have been advised that, unfortunately, a public servant from urban services somehow got into the act and demanded that it be taken away, saying that this person or the company would have to pay $110 per tonne, which I understand is impossible. I would have thought that, if Environment ACT had come to a commonsense arrangement with the relevant party, that would suffice.

I would certainly like the relevant ministers to sort that one out. I will be happy to take it up with them later. I draw that matter to the house’s attention because about 600 members of the motorcycle club use that track, many of whom are young riders, trained in safe riding, who go on to compete in championships, and many people come from interstate to attend the various championships. A real problem has now arisen with many of these young riders drifting away from the sport or perhaps going out and riding unlicensed or unregistered bikes in other, unauthorised, parts of the ACT, rather than on the dedicated track located at Fairburn Park.

That dedicated track had some improvements done for the Rally of Canberra, which a number of members, including Mr Gentleman, attended. I saw him at that very successful event. I think some of the earthworks might even have been in relation to that. So, again, through no fault of the track, the motorcycle club finds itself in dire straits. The club is starting to lose riders because young riders do not have that facility available to them. It needs to be sorted out. It seems to me to be a bit of a Yes, Minister situation.

My second point also relates to motor sport. I had cause to attend an interesting meeting in relation to the dragway a couple of weeks ago, where I heard some rather disturbing comments from the minister—but more on that later. The lot opposite have a rather nasty habit at times of gilding the lily and coming up with some very strange views on what has occurred. I recall that, when the dragway issue was last raised, the Chief Minister ranted and raved about the then government having closed the track, which was nonsense.

To put the record straight, there was a strange arrangement. There was a three-way lease. The Department of Defence, which owned the land, leased it to the dragway and it was operated successfully for many years. The lease was somehow supervised by the territory. The territory did not have a huge amount of input to it, but I recall that the territory had to write a certain letter, saying it had no problems with the dragway continuing. That was duly done on, I believe, 8 December 1998 by the then Minister for

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