Page 529 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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The mpowerdome is held up, quite rightly, as a shining example in the ACT government’s own reports as one of the premier sporting facilities in the territory. The ACT government report on indoor sporting facilities stated that the mpowerdome is a very well programmed and utilised facility with a broad and responsive range of programs and that there is a strong capacity to accommodate events but a need to resolve parking constraints.

The solution to this problem is, as I said, quite simple: a resolution of the car park issue. As the stalemate stands at the moment, it seems that it is the government’s intent to see the owners or operators of the facility fork out their capital to improve unleased territory land for the purposes of car parking and then be granted some sort of pro rata rebate on that over the long term of the lease. For a small business, being asked to outlay $300,000 in capital to invest in an asset which they will no longer own does not make any business sense. It is unreasonable to expect that substantial capital investment to be made by a business to basically hand that cash over to the government, write it off their books and cause great operational pain. The more regularly adopted solution, the solution that I think most people would expect in this sort of instance, would be that government comes to the party and makes the investment in the improvement of its own land so that it remains the owner of the asset and then leases that improved asset back to the operator at a commercial rate. That is how general commercial lease agreements work. It is very rare for the lessee to be funding the capital costs of an asset and then handing that asset over to the landlord. That is a very simple way forward. I look forward to hearing what the minister’s response is.

Another article that has been posted recently was by Robert Issell, a constituent many may know from his involvement in the Phillip Business Community but also a passionate supporter of futsal in the ACT. He posted this online in November last year:

What is the real reason behind the closure of mpowerdome and how has it impacted the families and residents of the Tuggeranong Valley?

Interesting questions and that have been clouded in mystery. Some people say there were car-parking safety issues. Some say a new buyer could not be found and some say that the Government has not been very supportive.

Whatever the truth is, it is a real shame that so many people who played each week, every school holidays or at the weekend are now without these fantastic facilities and the benefits they provided. Many people who live in the Tuggeranong valley or Queanbeyan and even from the broader ACT sporting community have been affected by a decision that is out of their control. They came, they played and now there is nothing, after 10 years.

You hear all kinds of rumours. They do not really matter. What does matter is that such a fantastic facility is closed and not available for the community to use. What does matter is how it can be reopened to become again the facility that it once was. How can it be revitalised and opened for the purpose it was built for: to serve the community and provide a safe and friendly facility for health activists? The

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