Page 2627 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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There is no sun shade at Woden park, no scoreboard and no grandstand. Seating has been reduced from 400 to 200 temporary seats. There are only three toilets available—one male, one female and one unisex. This is an incredible oversight for a venue that currently hosts Premier League men’s and women’s football matches with crowds of around 200 to 300 and a facility that was built for grand prix athletic events with crowds of around 2,000 to 3,000. School athletics carnivals are also meant to be staged at Woden, which would involve around 2,000 to 3,000 competitors and spectators.

Mr Assistant Speaker, when you look at what 200 to 300 people are somewhat managing to cope with, and if you put 3,000 people into that stadium, you have a situation that I believe will require some attention from our health inspectors and other areas, just to see how people are going to cope. How are 3,000 people going to cope with two or three toilets?

Where are people going to park? Mr Barr told us, “There’s no problem with parking; people can park in the Canberra Hospital car park just across the road.” That comment, Mr Barr, will come back to haunt you, because people who are using Canberra Hospital to visit family or friends are finding it very difficult to find parking. Yet the Chief Minister is now encouraging people to park in the very same car park because there are not sufficient car parks for 200 to 300 cars let alone for when crowds of 3,000 attend. These are serious issues that need to be attended to. I think there are a lot of people hiding their heads in the sand at the moment on these issues.

I could go on for ages, but I will finish by referring to what is an almost Monty Python-esque situation that exists in this whole Woden park debacle in that the planners were able to remember to include shade for the garbage bins. Imagine that: shade for the garbage bins but not for the spectators. That highlights what this government thinks of our sporting community. Athletics occurs in the summer months; it is an all-day event where children and adults, spectators and participants, are in the sun for most of the day, yet there is no sun shade whatsoever at the moment. On the positive side, I have to say that the running track is very good, and I believe that will get a lot of usage. But when you consider what we got for the $7 million that was spent and compare it, as I did, with an oval like Gungahlin oval, you can see a lot needs to be addressed in that situation.

While $7 million was spent on Woden park, all the other Little Athletics grounds—I believe there are about 10 around Canberra—were, and I understand still are, below the minimum standard that Little Athletics grounds are meant to conform to.

We also see government contributions towards upgrades of sporting facilities at, say, Kingston oval. This facility is used on many nights a week, as well as on weekends, for AFL and cricket all year round. There are thousands of junior and senior AFL players and cricketers who use the Kingston oval. It is difficult then to understand how this government can only contribute $5,000 to a facility that is used week in and week out across a number of sports while it has spent, in comparison, $750,000 on a beach volleyball facility that in reality will only be used for a few weeks a year and by beach volleyball competitors who I understand number around 200 players.

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