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Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 concessional rates at the moment? Will pool operators be constrained in their private operation or will they build new you-beaut facilities at the pools? There is a need to start asking some questions about the rationality of this so-called privatisation. At present, the pools have private, contract businesses operating them. Tenders are called and a fee is set. That, in itself, is a form of privatisation. The managers are not employees of council, running the pools. Those people have to hire staff because the pools are open 7 days a week, basically between 6 am and 7 pm, except for 2 hours during the day. Those are long hours, 7 days a week and all year round. The managers pay the costs of other staff, maintaining the equipment and cleaning the pools. They are doing a good job. A ca~eful examination needs to be made of that situation to avoid - to use a pun - throwing the baby out with the bath water. Those pools are important public amenities and we do not want simply to turn them into another commercial business operation for the sake of saving council per pool the equivalent of maintaining 2 ovals from which it obtains virtually no revenue each year. That is really what we are talking about. Let us put it in perspective. I think it is a reasonable and acceptable cost for a local government to incur in order to provide an important local community amenity. The second matter I would like to raise relates to coaching rights. I have been involved with swimming coaching in Darwin, on and off, since 1975. ,In fact, I have worked as an amateur coach in Darwin for 8 years or more. Mrs Padgham-Purich: Have you been moonlighting? Mr HATTON: No. Until I went into politics, I coached almost all the time from 1975 to 1983, on an amateur basis.' I have watched, ~Iith pride, the development of swimming in the Northern Territory. In the 1970s, a major conflict arose over coaching and pools. To resolve that, the clubs were given the coaching rights for the pool. They found a club coach who operated from a particular pool. That has worked very successfully. Professional coaching has developed and swimming has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. We all take pride in Megan Fanning and Ian Vander-Wal, who are products of that very successful partnership which developed. At the moment, I understand that the clubs pay $600 a year for coaching rights for a pool. They pass that charge on to the coaches. I understand that the council has decided that there is some money to be made out of this and have decided to charge $3000 a year. The clubs cannot afford that, and I can say that the professional coaches cannot either. My information is that a coach - and I can quote only ballpark figures from Nightcliff - who has a very large squad, earns about $4500 a year from coaching, out of which he pays 2 assistant coaches at $12 an hour. His net revenue is about $1500 to $2000 before tax. Nevertheless, if this move by council goes ahead, he will be required to pay the club $3000 for the privilege of coaching. This lunacy will set swimming back 20 years and, if the council continues with it, we will lose professional coaching. The council needs to think very carefully about what it is doing and how it affects the development of an important and valuable sport which assists many young kids. I can see what will happen. The clubs will turn to the government and ask for more money to keep the coaches. It will be a backdoor way to increase funding to the council. I will watch very carefully what is occurring in this regard. 5613