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Monday, 30 May 1994
Page: 897

(Question No. 1252)

Senator Newman asked the Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories, upon notice, on 22 March 1994:

  With reference to the fact that a proposal for an aquatic centre in Hobart has been supported by the State Government and the Hobart City Council, committing $4 million each, but is on hold because of a lack of federal funding, and with reference also to correspondence, dated 10 November 1993, by the former Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories (Mrs Kelly) acknowledging that she was very aware of the demand and need for such a facility, but as the Government was under extreme pressure from demands for funds, the Hobart aquatic centre must miss out:

  (1) Does the Minister agree that Tasmania is not in a position to miss out again when it is the only State in Australia without an adequate aquatic centre, with one inferior centre for Hobart's population of 190,000 by comparison, Canberra has over 10 major aquatic centres for a population of around 320,000;

  (2) Will the Federal Government provide funding for the much-needed Hobart aquatic centre in the May 1994 Budget; if not, why not.

Senator Faulkner —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) and (2) The provision of sport and recreation facilities is primarily a local and state government responsibility. The fact that Tasmania has not, to this time, had an international level aquatic centre is, therefore, a reflection of the priorities of the Tasmanian State Government and local government authorities.

  Comparisons of sports facility provision reflect the priority given to them by state and local governments. In any comparison of aquatic facilities in Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, it should be borne in mind that none of the aquatic facilities in the ACT can compare to what is proposed in Hobart. The two most prominent facilities in the ACT are inadequate as international competition venues. The Australian Institute of Sport complex (which was fully funded by the Commonwealth) is basically a training facility with limited spectator accommodation, no diving pool and has limited public access. The Tuggeranong centre (which received $250,000 through the Community Cultural, Recreation and Sporting Facilities Program) is a normal municipal, community facility.

  As the Prime Minister has advised the Tasmanian Premier, the Commonwealth has no programs which could provide funds of the magnitude sought, and the 1994-95 budget does not make provision for a program to fund major sporting facilities of international standard.