‘No funds’ to fix flood-damaged sports fields

A senior Brisbane councillor claims flood-damaged sporting facilities owned by the council have been refused funding from the national disaster relief fund.

Brisbane Lifestyle committee chair Geraldine Knapp said yesterday the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) did not consider that sporting facilities were an “essential public asset”.

The Council has estimated $10 million dollars of repairs have already been completed on sporting and recreational facilities.

The chamber heard Cr Knapp read from an email from the director of compliance for NDRRA funding from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

“The list of sporting facilities provided by the BCC will not be considered eligible in the NDRRA,” Cr Knapp read.

“They are not all an integral and necessary infrastructure and would not severely disrupt the normal function of the community.”

Cr Knapp said she was “devastated” the Queensland Reconstruction Authority did not consider council-owned sports fields to be an “essential public asset”.

“It really saddens me to inform the chamber.”

She hoped that all councillors would be “appalled” at the statement by the NDRRA that the sporting fields were only used “for recreational purposes by a relatively small component of the community”.

She said a 2009 Australian Bureau of Statistics report showed 26 percent of Brisbane residents used parks for organised recreational sport, highest among young people aged 15-17.

“Fifty-eight per cent of the population, of that population, go and play sport on a Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,” she told the Council.

“This does not seem like a relatively small component of the community as suggested in the email.

“Many of the clubs as you know are multi-used … meeting rooms, not for profit organisations… I find it absolutely disgraceful that we can see that these sporting facilities are integral but they can’t,” Cr Knapp said.

Cr Knapp said the Queensland Government estimated in 2008 the total cost of Queensland’s obesity was $11.6 billion and “will increase in the future”.

“For them to suggest that our clubs aren’t an integral part to healthy living, I don’t know Madam Chair.”

Comment has been sought from the Queensland Construction Authority.

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