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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 August 2017) . . Page.. 2669 ..

Our higher education, training and research sector is inclusive, accessible and diverse. I congratulate the government on its continued efforts to protect these values in the face of attacks from Liberal governments across the country.

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (12.07): I am going to begin by speaking on my shadow sports and recreation portfolio. This is an area where the government appears to be spending a lot of money. It is finally, it would appear, delivering on the promise of a leisure centre for the Stromlo-Molonglo community. This is long overdue. Promised during the 2008 election, work on this will finally begin, according to the budget papers, by the end of this financial year. We are looking forward to seeing this get underway, though it is disappointing that it will not include a dive pool, and there is no discussion of an indoor sports centre, though the government’s feasibility study strongly recommended that this be included in the facility.

We also welcome the announcement and funding for a feasibility study, though the minister wrongly told the Assembly last year, and reiterated earlier this year, that this was already being conducted. We ask the minister to commit to and prioritise the building of an indoor sporting centre for Gungahlin, though maybe asking the government to commit to anything might not be such a great idea. During the recent election, several key promises were made to grassroots sporting bodies such as Tuggeranong rowing club, who were promised a grant of $200,000 for a permanent club facility, whilst the Canberra Kart Racing Club was promised a similar sum of money to upgrade its Mark Webber circuit track.

In response to questions on notice as to why these promises were not kept, the government tells us that it remains committed to them. I wonder how long the clubs will have to wait: until someone is seriously injured on the track? Or until the Tuggeranong rowing club decides to move across the border and we lose yet another sporting club from the ACT? I called on the government recently to get real about their support of the grassroots sporting community, not just the elite sports. I again call on the government to get real.

Of course, it is not all bad news. We see that the government has split sports and recreation portfolio responsibilities across two directorates, with sports facilities management moving to TCCS. This seems an appropriate move, but we would like to question what is involved in the maintenance costs. A single line item appears in the budget to cover all of this area.

For example, will the maintenance of Boomanulla Oval finally be addressed? Boomanulla Oval is in a disgraceful state. In May of this year the minister claimed that the management of the oval fell under her portfolio responsibilities, in which case this facility should have been maintained as a matter of course, with all other ovals and recreational facilities. The ongoing and disgraceful state of the oval is indicative of this government’s failure to maintain even basic standards for its facilities. The longer the government fails to act, the higher the cost to the people of the ACT. Hopefully, with the move of maintenance to TCCS, we will finally see the full repair and restoration of the oval, as a property that is central to the Indigenous community and also to the whole Canberra community.

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