Page 2955 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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television revenue and other competition fees and associated revenues that come from the success of their sport.

That will, in turn, free up government resources to assist other sports that perhaps do not get the same level of commercial support either through television deals, sponsorship or the like. That is an important balance to strike between those elite level sports and some of the more grassroots sports or the sports that will develop over time in this territory.

Of course, in balancing that, in terms of allocation of resources within the portfolio we need to be cognisant of the levels of participation in the variety of sports. There are some sports that have a very clear argument that they have the highest levels of participation and so should be entitled to a greater level of support. In all things in public policy, it is about striking a balance. The government believes that we have struck that balance effectively through support of elite teams that of course play a significant role in promoting this city and promoting healthy lifestyles through their achievements in terms of inspiring the next generation of sporting participants. But then also, we cannot neglect community-based sport.

It is my view that we have struck the right balance, that the funding that you see in this year’s budget, not only around the current support for the operation of community-based sport in the territory but also some significant targeted investments in improving capital infrastructure for a large number of sports, is appropriate and timely. It is perhaps with some sadness that the Liberal Party have decided not to support the budget and so will be voting against each piece of investment in sporting infrastructure. It is particularly odd, given that their sporting policy in last year’s election in terms of their infrastructure position was almost an entire lift of what the government was proposing. They said, “Yes, we support everything the government is putting forward and we might do a couple of other things after a review.” That was essentially the Liberal Party’s sport policy last election. They supported then each of these infrastructure investments.

But it appears that when push comes to shove and we have to vote on the matter, they are not game to vote for improving the Woden Gymnastics Club, for the second phase of funding for the Lyneham precinct around the Tennis and Sports Centre, for the improvements to Griffith oval, for the delivery of a leisure centre in Gungahlin, for the delivery of the Gungahlin enclosed oval, for the Basketball Centre of Excellence, for the motor sports fund, for the mountain bike trials and world championships, and for the “where would we play initiative” around drought-proofing our sporting facilities. That is disappointing. Nonetheless, the Liberal Party will have to defend their position on that matter.

In relation to tourism, clearly the government invests a significant amount of money in tourism. There are some new initiatives in this year’s budget, again meeting our election commitments around a new autumn event and more support for domestic marketing activities. It is very pleasing to be able to deliver on that election commitment in the first budget of this four-year term. We are all eagerly looking forward to the announcement of the new autumn event and, of course, I will look forward to making that announcement.

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