Page 3823 - Week 10 - Thursday, 27 August 2009

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MS HUNTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. What investigations have the department of education or any department within the government undertaken on the health impacts or potential health impacts of using synthetic turf? If there are any, could you please outline those investigations?

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Through both the Department of Education and Training and sport and recreation services within the Department of Territory and Municipal Services, extensive studies have been undertaken into a variety of different synthetic playing surfaces.

I think in the context of this debate it is worth acknowledging that the technology around synthetic playing surfaces has evolved considerably over the last decade or so and that some of the new synthetic surfaces that we are now utilising, both in the education area and in the sport and recreation area, are a significant advance, both in terms of their sustainability and their design and the varying elements of their overall performance, than perhaps we might have come from in the last century.

In terms of the detail of Ms Hunter’s question, I will obviously have to get a range of reports. I am happy to make them available for Ms Hunter. I am aware that there has been some public debate in some parts of the world, particularly in the United States, about the lead content in some synthetic playing surfaces. This is something that was thoroughly examined by the department of education and the Department of Territory and Municipal Services, through sport and recreation services, in the rollout of synthetic surfaces in the ACT.

There are a number of surfaces. I recently opened a new $2.2 million facility that was funded by the territory government in conjunction with Capital Football at Hawker that is a FIFA level synthetic surface. I think I would go so far as to say that all those who have played on those facilities cannot believe it is not grass, it is so like the real things. They cannot believe it is not grass, it is that good.

Of course, in developing these new surfaces there are a number of Australian companies that are at the leading edge in ensuring not only that these facilities are safe for users but that they do make a significant contribution to the overall government policy goal of reducing our reliance on potable water for our sporting fields.

Small businesses—Garema Place

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Business and Economic Development. Minister, it has been reported that businesses operating in Garema Place have been given notice by the Department of Territory and Municipal Services to remove racks of goods outside their shops by Monday morning. This threat has apparently been made despite the fact that the traders have been doing this for many years. If they do not comply, TAMS officers will take draconian action, including seizing and disposing of goods, with the traders liable for any costs incurred. Minister, what are you doing to stick up for small businesses in Garema Place?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Seselja for the question. I might check, having regard to the nature of the question and the Leader of the Opposition’s interest in it, to see

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