Page 2898 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 30 June 2010

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I am not an absolutist in this. I think you need to assess on a case-by-case basis. Clearly we have an issue with golf courses in the territory.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Doszpot?

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, with regard to the funding that you spoke about regarding water-related issues for the golf clubs, can you confirm that there has been a recent substantial cut to the budget that you originally allocated for that? Can you tell us how much?

MR BARR: No, there has been no cut. In fact, that budget has increased. I think if you take the totality of the program already spent and committed into the future, it is around $30 million over the period. I think Mr Doszpot alluded to that when he was reading out a number of my media releases last night.

That funding is over a number of years. Some grants have already been allocated and spent. Others in this year’s budget have been provided. Then there is an ongoing program up to 2013, Mr Speaker, for financial assistance both to non-government sporting providers and also around government sporting assets to ensure that we are reducing our reliance on potable water costs across our sport and recreation facilities.

MS HUNTER: Supplementary?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Minister, have you organised a roundtable to gather all the golf club managers together and discuss the future of the industry in the ACT?

MR BARR: Thank you. I have met with a number of golf course managers. The Treasurer and I in fact met in the Treasurer’s office last year, I believe, with a number of golf course managers. We have met individually and collectively with a number of those course managers, particularly those that have been experiencing some financial difficulty or some difficulty in sourcing water.

There are other courses, as I indicated, Ms Hunter, in response to the initial question. There is not a level playing field here. At least one golf course, by virtue of a historical circumstance, has free access, or virtually free access, to a seemingly unlimited water supply through Lake Burley Griffin. That particular club has not approached government with any need for financial assistance or assistance to access water.

Other golf clubs clearly are in a different position and, yes, we have met with them. We continue to meet with them and we continue to provide the sort of support that is necessary to ensure the ongoing viability of golf in the territory. However, we do recognise that we are oversupplied with golf courses and it is clear that for a sustainable number into the future there will need to be some change in this industry.

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