Page 730 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 29 March 2006

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Sport and recreation

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (10.48): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the considerable benefit of sport and recreation to the Canberra community;

(b) the fact that sport and recreation services are a limited part of the ACT budget, approximately 0.4% of the total ACT budget; and

(c) the concerns of the sport and recreation community about the impact of the Functional Review of Government Services; and

(2) calls on the Government to give a guarantee that the Office of Sport and Recreation ACT will remain in one department and not be spread across a number of departments.

We have all taken pride in the achievements in sport and recreation of the ACT. At the elite level, fantastic results were achieved most recently by athletes from ACTAS, the ACT Academy of Sport, in Melbourne. The table in the Canberra Times for individual athletes, not team athletes, indicates that we beat New Zealand, as the Chief Minister said yesterday, with nine gold medals and sundry other medals. If you include team sports such as basketball—remember our own Lauren Jackson—and hockey and several team sports in the swimming area, there were actually 13 gold medals, which was a fantastic result.

At the general level, the ACT has the highest participation rates consistently. They might be a bit down now, but I think the rest of the country is too. I recall that at one stage, six or seven years ago, 74 per cent of territorians over the age of five were physically active. That has dropped a bit, but so have other states as well and we are still in front of other states.

It is a record to be proud of and it is done, basically, on pretty well a shoestring budget. The total ACT budget is some $2.7 billion. Of that, about 0.4 per cent, about $12 million, is actually spent on sport and recreation. If you look at budget paper No 4 for the current year, you will see that $9.499 million is being spent by the government on sport, recreation and racing sector development. I am not concentrating on the racing sector development here, so it would be a little less than that, but when you bung in facilities and so on you are probably looking at around the $12 million mark.

In a budget of $2.7 million, it is not particularly huge, yet we certainly get an excellent bang for our buck in terms of health benefits, community wellbeing, community pride in their elite athletes, and the fact that kids can simply play a game of footy, play some of the plethora of sports we have in Canberra, be active, learn great life skills and not be bored and idle, which often leads to trouble and ultimately might lead to some of them getting into trouble with the criminal justice system. Indeed, sport and recreation is a wonderful way of helping people who are in trouble with the law, especially younger

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