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AIS must stay in Canberra

ACT Independent Senator David Pocock has reiterated his call for the Albanese Government to rule out relocating the Australian Institute of Sport following an FOI disclosure last week and the announcement today of an independent review into its future.

Australian Sports Commission costings revealed in the Canberra Times showed that taxpayers would have to stump up an additional $1bn to relocate the AIS to Queensland instead of just $200m to refurbish the existing site.

“I welcome any pathway to additional investment in the Australian Institute of Sport but we shouldn’t be contemplating its potential relocation,” Senator Pocock said.

“The Albanese Government needs to commit - today - to keeping the AIS here in the nation’s capital.

“The AIS has an expert, independent board already providing advice on the matters included in the review’s terms of reference.

“It’s disappointing that while the Government has a joint standing committee holding an inquiry into fostering and promoting the significance of Australia’s National Capital they’re also considering moving a key national institution like the AIS away from Canberra. 

“Why do Canberrans get taken for granted? The previous Coalition government allowed the AIS arena to close due to lack of investment and now the Labor government has opened the possibility of moving the AIS away from Canberra altogether. Will they review the location of the Mint and Library next? 

“These are national institutions and just like the AIS, they should remain in Canberra. 

“The Australian Institute of Sport has been a global leader in fostering sports excellence. 

“For decades it was the envy of the world, and a template for them to follow, supporting thousands of athletes to compete at the elite level. We need to ensure we continue to invest in the AIS to support Australian sports and athletes.

“Clearly more investment is needed to upgrade ageing facilities but we also need to recognise the solid bones that still exist. 

“As ASC CEO Kieran Perkins OAM has quipped, while the 1980s rang asking for the curtains in the athlete’s dorm rooms back, the Olympic Pool is as good today as the day it was built, and he would know!

“Upgrades would deliver much better value for taxpayers and also be less disruptive for athletes.”

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