Page 2628 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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One questions the priorities of this government, the planning of this government, the commitment of this government and the consultation by this government to determine what the community really needs. The sports minister needs to take some responsibility in this area, and I am sure that will be done. But at this stage there are a lot of question marks over planning and allocation of funding.

This sort of government expenditure is confusing to a lot of the Canberra sporting community. These lumpy spending habits see large budgets on things that really do not make all that much sense, and small budgets on what seemingly is more worthy or where more priority was required. Even on the odd occasion when a good budget is set on projects that hold large potential, somehow this government still cannot get it right. (Second speaking period taken.)

I also note what seems to be the reluctance on the part of the government to become involved in the CBR Brave’s quest for better quality ice facilities for Canberra. I say “reluctant”, as I hope that it is reluctance and not disinterest. The Canberra ice skating facilities are not good, even if they were located in a small country town. For them to be the national capital’s only facilities is quite appalling. Despite that, the CBR Brave continue to attract record crowds, in fairly poor conditions from spectators’ point of view, and they continue to advance their way, hopefully into the finals.

I also wish to mention the Canberra Olympic pool. As most would know, the Canberra Olympic pool has been experiencing issues with leakage for quite some time. It is paramount that the future of this facility, whether it is by way of repairs or replacement, is communicated clearly in the public arena. The Olympic pool is utilised by a number of public groups, such as the ACT Diving Academy and many water polo teams. For these groups, having a clear direction from the government is important to their day-to-day activities as well as to their survival. At present our divers have to travel to Sydney, as I understand it, to fit in training. Again this is not good enough for the nation’s capital.

Of course, for the many casual and recreational users of the pool, in a city that prides itself on a high recreation participation rate, having a pool that is normally open in winter closed either for a short time or permanently without a replacement is simply not good enough.

Apart from the participants and users of the pool, the other people that are being short changed quite badly are the people who we rely on to run some of these pools—the investors, the business people who invest money and expect to make some capital on their investment. There are two very sad cases where contracts have been terminated early when the problems with the leaking pool were finally discovered. These investors and businesses should be able to recoup some of the money they have spent on venues they felt were workable venues, whereas they found out, due to the poor fiscal performance of the asset they were managing, they were losing money on the venue. When the department and the government finally understood what the problems were, at that stage they also took the venues away from these people. As I understand it, these venues are under temporary management by other operators at the moment.

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