Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 February 2017) . . Page.. 536 ..
history of the mpowerdome in the public arena, so that there is a greater understanding of what has been happening with the mpowerdome, the reasons why the facility has closed and that, as far as I am aware, it continues to be for sale. I have also been advised that a number of people have been interested in purchasing the property, but for some reason those conversations have fallen through. None of the reasons that I have heard about related to the car park issue.
I hope that this assists Mr Wall and Mr Milligan with understanding the situation at the mpowerdome. I will be happy to talk to mpowerdome again and clarify exactly what support the government can provide. I think I have been fairly clear with them in the past, although my last conversation with them was at my initiative and occurred in August last year. I hope that members will support my amendment. I think it provides a little more factual information about the story.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (6.04): As Mr Wall rightly identified, anybody who has been in this place for a little while and had an interest in sporting issues has come across the issue of mpowerdome and the concerns about parking at the facility. Certainly in the time that I was minister for both TAMS and Sport and Recreation this issue has come up. As Ms Berry just outlined, there have been significant efforts by the government to assist with the car park. It has become a question of how much is it the responsibility of the government to build facilities for what has been a private business. That has been challenging to answer that question exactly. But, as Ms Berry’s amendment notes, there has been investment in studies and there has been investment both in terms of cash and in-kind effort to help that facility resolve that issue.
I have spoken with the owner myself and there are some real differences of expectation. We had a discussion about what the value of the facility was and, if the government were to buy it, what the government should pay for the facility. There was a significant gap between what I was advised was the market valuation of the facility and what it was suggested the government should pay for the facility. In light of some recent public discussions about what government should and should not pay for certain sites, I think people would be surprised at the size of the gap in the expectations there.
This has been a difficult issue. There is no doubt it is a terrific facility and one that many people have taken advantage of over the years. I am interested that it has not been sold. Again, there is an expectation issue there. I understand there were buyers but there may well have been a gap between what buyers were willing to pay and what the owner expected should be paid. The conversation I had went along the lines of, “If I can’t get the price I want, I’ll close it.” It is a tricky thing to work out what the right role is for government when there are private buyers who may be willing to come in but just not at the price being demanded.
It is frustrating and I share Mr Wall’s frustration because there is a lot of indoor space there. As the indoor sports facility study showed, indoor sports are growing in popularity and there is real demand for indoor capability. I was pleased to have that indoor sports facilities report when I was the responsible minister because it gave us some clarity on where some of the gaps were, which sports were growing in