Liberals to fix Canberra’s abandoned ovals, flag subsidies for kids sport

Lachlan Roberts 4 November 2019 33

James Milligan said the Canberra Liberals want to make sport more affordable and accessible for all Canberrans. Photo: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

The Canberra Liberals vow to bring a number of abandoned ovals around the nation’s capital back online to help drive down the cost of playing amateur sport as part of their 10-year strategic plan to boost grassroots participation.

Flanked by Opposition leader Alistair Coe, Liberals spokesperson for Sport and Recreation James Milligan unveiled the Canberra Liberals’ decade-long plan to make Canberra the “amateur sporting capital of Australia”.

Mr Milligan said the plan counters a number of barriers created by the Barr Government that make it difficult for many Canberrans to participate in sport, including prohibitive expenses, poorly maintained assets and a lack of facilities.

He said Canberra’s community ovals suffer from a lack of basic maintenance and amenities, and the number of well-maintained sporting fields in the ACT is in short supply. The plan said over 30 ovals have had their irrigation switched off and haven’t been reconnected since the 2012 drought.

“To rectify this neglect, we will implement immediate remediation and upgrade plan for local sports and community ovals in the ACT,” the plan reads. “The restoration will be undertaken based on evidence for sporting need or alternatively, for mixed community use.”

Mr Milligan said the Liberals might not turn all abandoned local ovals back into sporting grounds and might instead turn them into community veggie gardens, barbeque facilities or playgrounds.

“If they are not to be reinstated as a traditional oval or rectangular field for sports, we will look at different ways to utilise the facilities for the local facilities,” he said.

The Canberra Liberals said they will also engage local clubs and associations to take ownership and care of their facilities and ovals by providing access to practical supports, like topsoil, bore water or small grants.

The plan also said the Canberra Liberals “would endeavour to make sports grounds more affordable and accessible” by reducing ground hire costs for local clubs.

“If we bring more ovals online, there will be more supply so we could look at reducing the cost of ground hire fees,” Mr Milligan said. “There is such a shortage of supply out there that the cost has gone up. We need to bring more ovals back online so we can work towards reducing those fees.”

James Milligan and Alistair Coe

The Canberra Liberals say that the Barr Government has created a number of barriers that make it difficult for Canberrans to participate in sport.

He said he had heard stories that sports had to turn kids away due to a lack of facilities and infrastructure.

“I have had so many clubs and sporting organisations tell me that they can’t run any more competitions,” he said. “They have the demand for it but they don’t have the infrastructure or facilities.”

The plan also flagged that the Canberra Liberals will explore ways to reduce families’ financial burden to involve their kids in sport, with the plan saying that the average parent spends $1,100 on their kid’s organised sport each year.

Mr Milligan said the Canberra Liberals want to make children’s sport more affordable and will target age groups where participation is low.

He said the ACT will consider following NSW lead and offer a sporting rebate offer to families, which provides $100 twice a year to family to help pay registration fees, or by supporting clubs by lowing the fees and charges they face.

“We want to look at different ways to support more kids getting involved in sport, so we will look at the challenges that parents face when they are enrolling their kids into sporting activities,” Mr Milligan said.

“We will look around the country and see what is currently being implemented to support kids to enrol in sporting activities.”

The Liberals have identified growing areas like Gungahlin and Molonglo have a lack of sporting facilities, with one sporting facility per 6,000 residents in Gungahlin compared to other areas of ACT where there is one facility per 2,500 residents.

Mr Milligan also said there are a number of indoor sports facilities that need to be constructed, such as at Woden, but further detail will be provided in the Liberal’s infrastructure plan to be released in the near future.

To find out more about the Canberra Liberals 10-year plan and to provide feedback, click here.

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33 Responses to Liberals to fix Canberra’s abandoned ovals, flag subsidies for kids sport
Geoff Harding Geoff Harding 4:28 pm 06 Nov 19

I believe all these comments have been chosen by CT. Not a balanced response.

canberradogwalks canberradogwalks 2:21 pm 06 Nov 19

These so-called ‘abandoned’ ovals provide valuable open space for a range of community users who don’t play organised sports. For example, there are decreasing off-leash spaces available for dog walkers and this policy would see this accelerate. The reality is that the vast majority of irrigated ovals are used perhaps only 25% of available daylight hours by organised sport – and that’s a generous maximum.

Andrew Webber Andrew Webber 2:02 pm 06 Nov 19

So where do they get the money to do that if they are going to freeze rates. What existing services will they cut

Acton Acton 12:32 pm 06 Nov 19

Elections should be cancelled in the ACT because Canberra will always vote Labor. Under Labor everything is perfect and nothing can be improved. We know that because Labor focus groups tell us.

Justine Graham Justine Graham 10:25 am 06 Nov 19

Liz Graham. Haven't read it but thought it might be of interest

Candourist1 Candourist1 8:14 am 06 Nov 19

Does the author of this story have a list of these abandoned sporting fields in Canberra? How much does the current government spend up their upkeep and what is the proposed budget from the LIberals on this?

Pete Schwartzy Pete Schwartzy 8:08 am 06 Nov 19

That's if this bunch don't get in and sell it to their mates for more over priced high density housing.

Ella Factor Ella Factor 7:20 am 06 Nov 19

So, first they promise to freeze rates - thus freezing government revenue - thus reducing available discretionary government funding - then they start announcing how they would increase government spending - by being more profligate with water in a major drought?

Great story bro, needs more dragons

Alexander Ryan-Jones Alexander Ryan-Jones 7:04 am 06 Nov 19

Wow, that's a low target. I think the ACT Liberals are too embarrassed to even breath a word about education and healthcare, considering the vandalism their party has wrought at a national level.

Tobias Wright Tobias Wright 6:53 am 06 Nov 19

Going to paint the grass green again?

Marko Lehikoinen Marko Lehikoinen 6:00 am 06 Nov 19

Are they going to keep the ovals next to Kippax shopping centre out of developers' reach then, or will they bend over and let them become townhouses too?

Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 11:57 pm 05 Nov 19

They can vow whatever they like- I wouldn’t vote for them

Laura Frame Laura Frame 11:26 pm 05 Nov 19

Tackling the big stuff. Yes. Pun intended.

John Milosis John Milosis 9:42 pm 05 Nov 19

Yeah right 😂

Chris Ellis Chris Ellis 7:58 pm 05 Nov 19

Ovals? How many people do they serve?

Ian Greed Ian Greed 7:16 pm 05 Nov 19

And just what do the libs plan to cut to pay for this?

Mark McEwen Mark McEwen 7:05 pm 05 Nov 19

Are they going to build a coal power station as well?

Greg Oakes Greg Oakes 6:55 pm 05 Nov 19

Liberals fix something? 😂

James Richards James Richards 6:24 pm 05 Nov 19

They must be recruiting higher powers or at the very least someone who knows how to do a rain dance.

Ohhh who am I kidding, when has election campaign policies actually have to be facts as they never get held accountable once they are elected

Lyndon Zoukowski Lyndon Zoukowski 6:17 pm 05 Nov 19


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