Page 617 - Week 02 - Thursday, 20 February 2020

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Sport—sportsground irrigation

MR MILLIGAN: Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Sport and Recreation. Potable water is charged at $4.66 a kilolitre in the ACT and only $2 a kilolitre in NSW. Similarly, the abstraction of groundwater is charged at $250 a megalitre in the ACT and $10 a megalitre is New South Wales. Minister, why is the cost of irrigating sportsgrounds so much higher in the ACT than in New South Wales?

MADAM SPEAKER: You are taking that answer, Chief Minister?

MR BARR: Yes. The pricing of water is set independently by the ICRC; that comes under my responsibilities with the treasury portfolio. I refer Mr Milligan to the latest ICRC pricing determination for the answers to his questions.

MR MILLIGAN: Chief Minister, what incentive is there for community clubs to provide sport and recreation assets to the Canberra community when your government makes it so difficult for them to operate?

MR BARR: Thank you. As I indicated—obviously it is difficult for you to deviate from your set questions—water pricing is set independently by the ICRC in the ACT. There is a number of programs in place to support large water users, and there are concessional rates available for a variety of water users in the ACT. The ACT government also provides considerable capital and recurrent support for sporting organisations to reduce their need for potable water. I certainly recall a very significant program around rainwater collection and storage to assist a range of sport and recreation organisations to reduce their need for potable water usage. That was all taxpayer funded.

MR PARTON: Chief Minister, irrespective of who is responsible for the water charge, is the high cost of water part of the reason that ground hire fees for sportsgrounds are so relatively high in the ACT?

MADAM SPEAKER: Ms Berry, to answer that part of the question.

MS BERRY: I will take that part of the question. I think it is important to note that 86 per cent of the irrigation costs of our fields in the ACT is paid for by the government, and that is a significant subsidy to ensure that the price of participating in sport remains at a rate that people and families can afford so that both children and older people can participate in sport.

We have the highest participation rate in sport and recreation in the country, something we are enormously proud of and want to continue. We also have excellent facilities compared to our neighbours around the region, something we are also very proud of. I am constantly getting feedback from sports communities about the high quality of particularly our fields but also all our sports facilities across the ACT.

There are a number of ways that the ACT government and other organisations support people to be able to participate in sport. One of them is through a very targeted

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