Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 26 March 2009) . . Page.. 1450 ..
To that end, I think the ACT needs an audit of its sports facilities. This is something the ACT government should do in order to give us a clear forward plan of what we need. What I mean by that is that we should be sitting down and assessing the needs that we have for facilities, what these needs are now and what they are going to be into the future. Of course, the future is always a difficult thing to predict, but I think we have a pretty good idea, and certainly many of the sports have a fair sense of where we are going and what is going to be needed down the line.
We then need to assess whether this is matched by the current provision of facilities. It would not be unreasonable to assume that there is not a perfect match. There rarely is, and that is okay. But then, once we have that audit, the government can then develop a five to 10-year plan in partnership with the stakeholders about what we actually need in the ACT in the future. We can actually have a clear pathway, a clear work plan for government and a sense of stability and security for the community organisations that provide these valuable services.
In thinking about why we need an audit, I think there are plenty of examples around of current shortcomings. During the election campaign I met a fellow who was involved in handball. It is not a massive sport in Australia. It is very popular in Europe, but not so popular in Australia, but it is a fantastic sport if anyone ever gets the time to see it. There is a community of several hundred people in the ACT playing handball and this fellow was telling me about the difficulty they have in accessing courts here in the ACT.
He talked to me about the difficulty of accessing school halls that could be perfectly suitable for playing handball. I know this is an issue that has been around for some time and I have heard the minister speak about it. It is not one that is easily fixed, but it is an example of where we have got a real disconnect between the wants and needs of the community and a significant number of people playing handball and their ability to access facilities.
Another interesting example is Reid Oval up on Limestone Avenue. This is one of the ovals in the ACT that is being watered by the grey water system. It has made it one of the very pleasant green ovals around the ACT, not one of the ones that has died out, and that is a great outcome. But the interesting thing now is that because that is a nice, green oval—it is soft; it has got lights—it is so in demand that the turf is being worn out at a rate that never happened historically because so many groups are converging on the ovals that are being watered.
Again, this is not an easy problem to solve, given the debate we have just had about water issues in the ACT, and I congratulate the government on their efforts to drought-proof the ovals. But, again, we see an example here where the demands and the facilities are not necessarily a match-up and where a long-term plan could start to address some of those issues.
I think the third example has already been the subject of some discussion, both yesterday and today in this place. That is the Deakin pool. I think the Deakin pool is a classic example of lack of proactive effort. Everything the minister has said has been