ACT government to meet with federal government about Canberra Stadium, AIS
ACT sports minister Yvette Berry will meet with her federal counterpart to help decide the future of Canberra Stadium in the coming weeks.
The future of the aging facility is still up in the air, with the federal government yet to decide its plans for the Australian Institute of Sport and its facilities, which included Canberra Stadium.
A new national sports plan is currently being worked on and could be finalised in conjunction with the federal budget announcement in about May.
The ACT government was also weighing up their options now that they're leasing Canberra Stadium off the federal government for about $350,000 per year.
One option was for the ACT to buy Canberra Stadium and then either refurbish it or knock it down and build a new stadium in Civic.
Berry will meet with new federal sports minister Bridget McKenzie to discuss the issue and how they can do what's best for the ACT community.
The federal government has assured her they wouldn't do anything without discussing it with the ACT government first.
"I'm getting a meeting organised to catch up on where it's up to with the new federal minister and the sports commission to find out where it's up to from their perspective," Berry told Fairfax Media.
"We're still waiting to hear what's their plans for the place ... I think they're still figuring out what they want to do with the place.
"In the meantime we need it, so we'll just have to work with them and work out what's best for the ACT community."
She did raise concerns it wasn't a priority for the federal government.
Berry felt there was a lot for McKenzie to get her head around in her new role after taking over from predecessor Greg Hunt.
As part of the new national sports plan, the federal government is considering scrapping their controversial Winning Edge program.
"[She] hasn't seemed very enthusiastic with any haste around this," Berry said.
"I think there's a lot for them to consider as well - around the future of the sports commission, the AIS more generally, the whole Olympic Winning Edge story ... and how the AIS fits into all that."
While the Canberra Raiders and ACT Brumbies won't be getting a new venue anytime soon, the 40-year-old Canberra Stadium has had some minor upgrades.
As part of the facility's annual review with both the NRL and Super Rugby teams, they've installed heat and ice baths in the change rooms to keep up to date with modern stadia.
It means the Raiders and Brumbies can now do their recovery in their own changerooms straight after the game and don't have to use the AIS's facilities.
"It was one thing the Raiders and Brumbies brought up that would add value to their programs ... and we were happy to do it," Canberra Stadium operations manager Matt Elkins said.
Meanwhile, Elkins was confident they had the parking capacity to support both the Raiders' game against the New Zealand Warriors at Canberra Stadium on Saturday as well as the Relay For Life at the AIS Track next door.
He said they'd coped with it for the last two years and could utilise the University of Canberra in conjunction with shuttle buses if required.
"It does mean more people in the precinct, which can slow things down a little bit at times, but we haven't seen dramatic impact over the last couple of years," Elkins said.
"We're pretty comfortable. On a good match day, Brumbies or Raiders, it does fill up, but we also have other mechanisms in place when that happens for overflow options."