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Tuesday, 19 March 1985
Page: 444

Senator AULICH(10.40) —I speak at Senator Peter Rae's request, because he raised some issues about which I thought I also should say a few words. They relate to the surfeit of parochialism which seems to be showing itself in a number of matters relating to sport. I mention them in passing because they are relevant to what would be a fair and objective choice of venue for the future cycling centre in Australia. The first matter concerns Lake Barrington, about which the behaviour of the State Government, the Grey Government, was absolutely deplorable. It rates with the behaviour from time to time of the Bjelke-Petersen Government for sheer bad manners and, more particularly, for sheer destructiveness in terms of its reaction to an attempt by the Federal Government and other governments around Australia to get some co-operation in the whole question of where resources should go, not only in sport but also in other matters.

The Federal Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism (Mr John Brown), who was very much responsible for putting funds into Lake Barrington, a world class course, was invited, virtually behind the door, to the official opening of that attraction. It was a time when the eyes of the world were on Tasmania. The Minister was invited to attend but not to speak despite the amount of money that the Federal Government had put into the development of that venue.

Senator Peter Rae —Some of us who were involved in the initial arrangement of the funds which went to Tasmania were not invited to the opening of any of these things, so it was not something peculiar.

Senator AULICH —That may well be the case. I agree that it is a question of very bad manners. Also we have seen a proliferation of signs from the State Government alongside various projects. Lake Barrington is one that has a sign which states: 'This is another State Government initiated project'. There is no attempt to give due credit to anyone involved from the Federal Government, whether the previous Liberal Party Government or the current Labor Government.

Senator Peter Rae —I am not sure that you should blame the State Government for that.

Senator AULICH — Those signs were placed there. There was no attempt to give due credit. I mention this not wanting to nitpick but simply because it is essential, if we are to have the most logical development of our sporting resources, that it be done as part of a proper consultation process between State and Federal governments.

Similarly, Mr Walsh, the director of cycling, also displayed a surfeit of parochialism, and I wish to comment on that. It is true, as Senator Rae said, that there was a great deal of lobbying by the Australian Amateur Cycling Federation for its choice of venue. Mr Walsh was reported on a number of occasions as saying that one of the major reasons he was able to lobby so successfully for Adelaide to be the venue was that he preferred to live in Adelaide. As an afterthought, he went on to describe some of the other attractions of South Australia, apart from the fact that he wanted to live there. Things such as the size of the velodrome, the road conditions and so on were mentioned, none of which measure up to the attractions of Tasmania, which has done fairly well in terms of amateur cycling. I can go through a whole list of world and national champions who for one reason or another seem to have overcome the problems of bad road conditions, tracks that are too long and inclement weather for presumably 340 days a year. Tasmania has as successful a record as any other State.

Therefore, Tasmania's claims are not simply equal. If we take into account that a velodrome of world class standard already exists, there is very good reason for all people in this House and in this Parliament at least to have some say in where the course should be. We are making our voices heard publicly here tonight because I believe that the Minister, Mr Brown, will be as objective as possible-far more objective than Mr Walsh and other people have been in their recommendations. I will take the matter to the Minister within the next few days and I hope that our joint efforts will have some reward, not so much in where the course is placed but in the process through which we all must go if we are to ensure that there is a fair and objective allocation of sporting resources right around this nation, which was the original concept of the Australian Institute of Sport.