Page 4326 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013

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It is also going to accommodate Special Olympics and ACTSport, local sports’ peak representational body. As part of that, Sports House will be relocated from their current premises in Hackett so that they can continue their role as an incubator for smaller, developing sporting organisations. And having had this conversation with ACTSport, I know they are very excited about this prospective move. I think all members who have had some issue with this portfolio in recent years will know that ACTSport have been lobbying for a move of venues. I feel that the current location they have in Hackett is out of date and they need something more modern.

I know that this is a very welcome move and one that will benefit a lot of smaller sports. Certainly the sports hosted by ACTSport currently in Hackett are some of the more obscure sports and that incubator effect I was just describing is very true, where they get a chance to move from perhaps operating off someone’s kitchen table to having a small office and then ultimately potentially becoming more self-reliant from there. But I think having an organisation like Special Olympics and ACTSport at the new hub will give community sports a high-profile location.

It improves the opportunities for cross-pollination with high-performance sports and the expertise and resources within the university, all in all creating a potential for a real centre of excellence, one in which all of the organisations gain some advantage. The idea behind the commons is to create a vibrant precinct where innovation can flourish and where sporting organisations, researchers, students and elite athletes can come together. That is something that, again, I think all members of the Assembly, certainly knowing the views of quite a few members on sport and the opportunity that it brings to our community, would support.

I have circulated an amendment in my name. I do have a slightly different understanding of the way that the regional development funds works and I have just sought to clarify that. I do agree with the essence of Dr Bourke’s motion. I think it is important that he brings this topic forward today, given the change of position by the new federal government. I think that is a shame because I think this is a valuable project for Canberra. I simply have brought forward an amendment that I think better reflects my understanding of the situation and how the regional development fund worked in the past and where things stand now.

I think it is important that this Assembly continues to lobby the federal government to fund the project. This is not about whether the federal government is Labor or Liberal. It is not about the local politics. It is simply about saying that this is a good development for Canberra. People have gone forward with the project on an understanding that funds would be available. Those initiatives, I think, are initiatives that would be good for Canberra, and that is where I think this Assembly does need to share a common view that we would like to urge the federal government to support this project. I think that is the essence of Dr Bourke’s motion today and that is certainly the spirit in which my amendment comes forward and one that I would commend to the Assembly.

I move the amendment circulated in my name:

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