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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 February 2017) . . Page.. 530 ..

community wants to know why this unique, world-first multimillion dollar commercial facility is now closed. It is a shame. It is a real shame.

One of the regular users of the facility was the South Canberra Futsal Association. Last year they had 588 players and this year they are down to just 350 players, according to their long-time club president, Robert Lamaro. Mr Lamaro said that 2016 had been the worst year for the numbers in the association that they had ever had. He said:

The closure of mpowerdome has certainly made it very difficult for us to operate … The numbers are down and we have had to operate in several school halls, instead of running our competitions in just one easy to manage location like MPowerdome.

Madam Speaker, this is the crux of the matter. What does matter is how it can be reopened to become the facility that it once was. The mpowerdome is crucial in ensuring that Canberrans remain active. And it enriches our community. No-one in this place, I believe, disputes this being the case.

I urge all members in this place to support my motion today. Politics aside—the north-south divide put well aside—minister, please have a conversation with the operators of the mpowerdome and see what compromises can be made and what you can do to ensure that the mpowerdome can be enjoyed by generations to come. I commend my motion to the Assembly.

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (5.45): I thank Mr Wall very much for bringing forward this motion. I want to start today by speaking in support of this motion. The Minister for Sport and Recreation has taken great pride in the high rates of participation in sport of people in the ACT. The people of the ACT are to be congratulated. The December 2016 results of the AusPlay survey, a national population tracking survey funded and led by the Australian Sports Commission and funded by the federal Liberal government, show that we have very high participation rates for those involved in sporting activities, particularly for adults, although, unfortunately, much of this is lower for our children.

We suspect that this may have to do with Canberra’s climate. Just this week we went from a high of 41 degrees to a cool 17. The AusPlay survey also shows that much of our participation in sport is in indoor sport centres, gyms and leisure centres. More than half of all men and almost two-thirds of women prefer to exercise in an indoor sporting centre. These numbers are even higher for older Canberrans.

The government’s healthy living initiative attempts to encourage people in Canberra to get active, but makes it difficult to do so. The lack of indoor sporting facilities is forcing our Canberra teams to find accommodation outside the territory. An example is a roller derby team which was forced to move to Queanbeyan High School, where they pay $600 a week for the use of facilities, because of a lack of suitable facilities in the ACT. The minister has suggested that schools will be made available in Canberra instead, yet many of them have inappropriate facilities, for example, a lack of change rooms or storage facilities, and many of them are quite small. Furthermore, to date, we are aware of only one school that has been made available.

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