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Thursday, 30 September 1999
Page: 9257

Senator FAULKNER —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Sport and Tourism, Senator Hill. Is the minister aware of the likely timetable for the presentation to the government of the Sports 2000 review commissioned by the minister, Miss Kelly? Can the minister confirm that one of the terms of reference for this review is that it should consider `the opportunities to increase off-budget funding of sport and recreation at the Commonwealth level'? Will the minister guarantee that this review is not, under the guise of this term of reference, just going to be camouflage for slashing Commonwealth funding to sport, including important programs for junior and women's sport and for the fight against drugs in sport?

Senator HILL (Environment and Heritage) —I can confirm that the minister has announced a task force to review the Commonwealth's involvement in sport and recreation. It will look at a range of issues, including the future funding and structure of sport and recreation. This will form a sound basis for the government's new sport and recreation policy. I remind the Senate that the recent federal budget assured sport funding for the next three years and the review process will develop a strong policy direction for the next 10 to 15 years. While our current system has served Australia extremely well over the past 25 years, the review and subsequent new sports policy are all about staying in front and ensuring that Australia remains a great sporting nation well into the next millennium.

Some of the key priorities include: ensuring that Commonwealth funds are spent in the best possible way, increasing participation rates in sport, ensuring that the benefits of sport extend right across the community and making sport more professional. The government also has an interest in making the sport and recreation sector a true industry with greater opportunities and more rewarding career paths for those who are involved. On the basis of our record in government to date and that background information on the Sport 2000 task force, I hope Senator Faulkner's concerns have been put to rest.

Senator FAULKNER —Madam President, I ask a supplementary question. My concerns have not been put to rest. Can the minister confirm that the review committee is chaired by Mr Ross Oakley of Oakley Enterprises, a company which is currently in legal dispute with the ACT Liberal government in relation to the Bruce Stadium fiasco? Is the minister aware that Oakley Enterprises is part of a consortium which charged $1.8 million for a marketing contract expected to raise $13 million in sponsorship, but which subsequently raised only $195,237, creating a 98 per cent shortfall? Given this abject performance in securing off-budget funding for the most significant sporting facility in the ACT, and the possibility of the Liberal ACT government taking legal action against Oakley Enterprises, what credibility can Mr Oakley's review possibly have?

Senator HILL (Environment and Heritage) —My brief does not advise me who is the chair of the task force, so I will seek further information on that matter.