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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 2215

(Question No. 1596)

Mr Fisher asked the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism, upon notice, on 21 August 1984:

(1) Is the construction of accommodation for scholarship athletes at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) contrary to the policy established in 1981 that access to public buildings be appropriate for disabled persons.

(2) Did he categorically advise disabled organisations on 17 April 1984, that 68 beds, or 25 per cent of the new residential beds, would be accessible to disabled scholarship athletes.

(3) Is it a fact that all other facilities at the AIS and the National Sports Centre, including temporary accommodation for the national training scheme, are accessible to people with disabilities; if so, why is this access not available in the residential accommodation for scholarship athletes.

(4) Will he rectify this apparent anomaly, as originally promised, if not, why not.

Mr John Brown —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The building is being constructed specifically for use by Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) resident athletes and there will be limited public access to the accommodation. Nevertheless, in accordance with Clause 3.1 (b) of Technical Directive AE TD 117, Access for Disabled People in Commonwealth Buildings, issued by the Department of Housing and Construction in August 1981, provision for (wheelchair) disabled people exists within the ground floor flats of the accommodation provided for resident AIS athletes and also in the accommodation provided for visiting athletes using the National Training Centre.

(2) I advised the Australian Council for Rehabilitation of Disabled in writing on 3 May 1984 that approximately thirty (30) wheelchair disabled could be housed in the National Training Centre accommodation and a further thirty-eight (38) could be housed in the ground floor flats of the AIS resident athlete accommodation when it was completed. This represents approximately 20 per cent of the total accommodation being accessible for the wheelchair disabled.

(3) Yes. There are currently no disabled athletes participating in the AIS resident program. However, in the event that there may be at some future time, provision has been made for them to be accommodated in the AIS student accommodation.

(4) The honourable member may wish to refer to my letter to him of 9 July 1984 where I informed him that:

'At present there are no disabled athletes participating in the AIS resident sport program. The accommodation being constructed has been designed for resident athletes in the eight sports currently based in Canberra. However, you can be assured that should any wheelchair athletes receive an AIS scholarship in the near future that they can and will have access to the AIS resident athlete component of the residential buildings.'