Page 3752 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 23 October 2013

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benefit from. The results of this latest survey are a clear testament to their work, and I take this opportunity to congratulate them. Our continued support of and our strong commitment to the maintenance and upkeep of our sporting infrastructure will ensure that the levels of satisfaction enjoyed by users of these facilities continue to remain high and that Canberrans will continue to enjoy their sporting and recreation facilities into the future. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (5.28): I thank Ms Porter for bringing this motion on some positive aspects of the work that sport and recreation does. I think people living in Canberra are well served by a dedicated and professional public service, and the people working in our Sport and Recreation Services are no exception. In the ACT we have a very high level of participation in sport by people of all ages and fitness levels. I think it is the highest of any state or territory. That has been confirmed every time national surveys are taken. We have a wide choice of sports available, from local community level through to the elite national and international competition standard. That high level of participation is assisted by and drives supply of a range of quality facilities. Admittedly, some are a legacy of being the nation’s capital.

Given the number of sports played and the number of hours our ovals are used, it is a challenge for TAMS staff to keep these playing areas safe, clean and functional. It is not an easy task. Certainly, during the drought, many ovals were forced to close, increasing pressure on others. I know the Calwell playing fields have something like 33,000 hours usage in one year.

So for Sport and Recreation Services to receive such positive feedback from their quarterly surveys is certainly encouraging for them. Ms Porter quotes such figures as a 94 per cent positive rating for the overall management of public sportsgrounds and neighbourhood ovals, a 100 per cent positive rating for easy access to grounds, a 97 per cent positive rating for the amount of available sportsgrounds, a 99 per cent positive rating for maintenance and cleanliness, a 96 per cent positive rating for the absence of litter, and a 94 per cent positive rating for the overall management of public sportsgrounds and neighbourhood ovals.

These are encouraging figures and ones that Sport and Recreation Services should be justifiably pleased about. However, it is appropriate that I also point out some of the shortcomings in some of the services on offer. As shadow minister for sport and recreation, I meet regularly with representatives of sporting clubs and with families whose children are engaged in sport. Earlier this year I raised the issue of ground hire charges. There are two aspects to this issue, and neither of them goes to the efficiency or professionalism of the sport and recreation staff but they do reflect on their ability to act efficiently and professionally.

The first is the rise in fees for the hire of sportsgrounds or, perhaps more correctly, the attempted hike in ground hire fees. In the last quarter of last year and again earlier this year, junior football clubs—in fact, all sports—were affected. They were advised of an increase in ground hire fees. In some cases, increases were over 50 per cent. The additional complaint they had—obviously these people were not amongst those who were surveyed by sport and rec—was to do with the quality of facilities and, in some cases, lack of facilities.

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