Page 2002 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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There were several issues in Mr Rattenbury’s explanation that I do not agree with. There were blocks of seating—fixed seating, not temporary seating—on either side of the dressing room and canteen facility at the old Woden oval. I visited the oval several times over a number of years. There were two blocks of seating on the left, facing the canteen area, and two blocks of seating on the right. All that is left out of the four blocks of seating is one block of seating which is now located between the finish line of the athletics events and what I believe is the canteen that has now been built next to that. That means there are no more than 200 available seats at the moment. There is no provision for sun shades there, and that is a very strict requirement of Athletics Australia.

These things have been discovered in a $7 million facility two months after it has opened. Whether they discovered it earlier has certainly not been acknowledged, and there has been no attempt to rectify the problem. I have not heard anything along those lines. But the fact that a $7 million stadium could not have seating for, say, 1,000 people, is just beyond comprehension. I would need a very strong explanation for why that was not done.

As far as Mr Rattenbury’s amendment is concerned, basically he has omitted all of the things that I have noted. I think it is only fair to acknowledge some of the shortcomings, but I do not think he has done that. There is a little bit of latitude in talking about the capacity currently available. I cannot agree with some of the information that Mr Rattenbury notes in that section.

With respect to the part that “calls on the government”, I will support that part of the amendment. We have achieved one thing here—to make the government look at the shortcomings of the ground. While they do not admit they are shortcomings, they are looking at talking more to the people who are using these facilities. I will accept the amendment on that basis. But I do not accept, and I still wonder why, there is such denial about some of the shortcomings.

Mr Rattenbury did not touch upon the location of the lighting. The lighting is very important for a ground like Woden, which is a multi-use facility for both athletics and football. But to put a light pole smack bang in front of where the spectators would get a prime view just does not make sense. It could have been located 10 metres behind the building that is directly in front. So there are issues that I think the minister is still failing to recognise. I would call on him to address some of the issues that I have raised.

The issues I have raised were not raised with any sense of gleeful political knock-off. I said that I was sad to say the things I said because there was the opportunity for the facility to be a very good initiative. I am sad that the final delivery has suffered so much as a result. The athletics community, I know, are very grateful to have received upgraded facilities, and I can understand why they are loath to criticise the fact that the government has at least delivered something for them. But the bottom line here is that, for $7 million, the expectations of the community were not just for the running track but for the facilities that would benefit people who come to the ground to watch their children play, for spectators who come to see sport played.

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