Page 4977 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 28 November 2018

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MS BERRY: I thank Ms Cody for the question. As the calendar year draws to a close a steady flow of announcements continues to build on Canberra’s place as a sporting capital. This is elite sporting codes wanting a clear presence not only in our strong community but also in our high performing economy.

The $19 million Canberra District Rugby League Centre of Excellence and Community Hub represents a significant investment into the sport by the ACT government in partnership with the Canberra Raiders and the New South Wales government. Drawing this cross-border investment is a huge vote of confidence for Canberra’s place in the region, and it is great that both governments and the Raiders have been able to come together in this way. This new facility will give the Canberra Raiders access to a state-of-the-art high performance training venue.

Elsewhere, in elite basketball the NBL has sought to explore opportunities to return elite men’s basketball content to the ACT market. Earlier this month I announced that the Illawarra Hawks will play a home game at the AIS Arena on 26 January 2019. While it is a single-year agreement, the Hawks are enthusiastic to maximise their engagement with the community and Basketball ACT in 2018-19 to demonstrate the potential participation, visitation and high performance value of a long-term engagement with the ACT beyond the current year. That includes working with the Canberra Capitals, which I absolutely encourage and applaud.

The Football Federation Australia has confirmed that the Canberra region’s bid is one of six remaining bids vying for two new competition licences in an expanded A-League. The A-League team have also engaged with Canberra United, our elite women’s team, and I am very happy that they have decided that is a good and successful path for them to be on.

In cricket, Manuka is of course getting ready for the historic first test this summer. (Time expired.)

MS CODY: Minister, what broader community benefits will the Rugby League centre of excellence have for the city and the region?

MS BERRY: In addition to providing top-level training facilities for the Raiders, the centre of excellence and community hub will significantly enhance and support the delivery of community Rugby League programs, including female, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and junior programs, in the ACT and across southern New South Wales. The community programs the facility will be used for include grassroots Rugby League programs, school coaching clinics, ACT and school touch football competitions, community coaching programs and Indigenous programs.

Not only will this facility become the home of our current crop of Raiders players, it will also play an important role in developing future Raiders players. I particularly want to thank the Raiders for working with the ACT government to adjust their designs to be more gender neutral. Again, despite what was said in this place yesterday, old-school sports pavilions with stand-up urinals are not inclusive of women. It turns out that it is quite a challenge for female athletes to use these. I know that I will have Mrs Jones’s back as I implement this policy.

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