Page 4319 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013
MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (4.17): I welcome the opportunity to discuss the issue of funding for the University of Canberra sports commons project which Dr Bourke has brought on in his motion today. I welcome it because when you look at the substance of this motion, it is in fact quite unique—and unique on a number of levels. For a start, I would have thought it somewhat inappropriate that the substance of this motion goes to the actions of a federal government. When I last looked, we were the ACT Legislative Assembly, and in this place we have no binding controls over anything done or said further up the road from here.
As to the points raised, I think that in nearly all of its five parts this motion has errors of fact. I will go through these directly. I am sure Dr Bourke will be disappointed to realise his motion is so flawed, because he is clearly trying to show that he is a great party line supporter, ready to go into the trenches to defend Labor at all levels and to demonstrate to his leader that it should be he that is chosen to join the others on the frontbench in the Gallagher government ministry. However, I do not think this is the issue that will do it.
When you go to the first part of the motion, it says:
… the ACT Government delivered $5 million in the 2013-2014 Budget to accommodate community sport within the University of Canberra (UC) Sports Commons project …
Well, it has not delivered anything yet. If Dr Bourke had seen the many non-delivered sports projects claimed to be funded in various Labor budgets, he would know that nothing is certain until the ribbon-cutting opening ceremony, and even then you cannot count on it. Just look at the Alexander Maconochie Centre as one example.
What we saw in the ACT budget was a commitment over the next four years to deliver $5 million. So it has not delivered anything yet. The forward estimates can and do change from year to year, and there is nothing to prevent this commitment being modified up or down, or even deleted, in the outyears. So that is Dr Bourke’s first technical slip.
The second part is actually correct, so one out of two thus far. But by the time we get to the third part of this motion we are really starting to move to the domain of fantasy and fiction. To suggest that an election announcement made by local federal MPs towards the end of August constituted a commitment is a little far-fetched. It was a statement delivered from local Labor MPs who knew only too well by that stage that their side of politics was not likely to win the election. In fact, the announcement was made on 18 August, well inside the conventional caretaker period. It was the big ticket item in the federal Labor Party’s official campaign launch in the ACT. As the media report at the time said:
The Federal Labor Government has committed $10 million for the next stage of the University of Canberra sports hub project.
The funding has been announced as part of the Federal Labor Party’s official campaign launch in the ACT.