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ACT sports minister Shane Rattenbury hands out $2.6 million in funding

As ACT Sports Minister Shane Rattenbury handed out $2.6 million to community sport, he took the opportunity to label Canberra bashers such as WA Premier Colin Barnett as "jealous" of the ACT's ability to host world-class events.

Rattenbury expected the momentum gained from the massive success of the Asian Cup to flow on to this month's Cricket World Cup, which has three games played at Manuka Oval.

Two of Canberra Stadium's seven Asian Cup games were sellouts and a CWC game is already close to one.

Surprisingly the Afghanistan-Bangladesh clash has sold so well there's "limited availability" for tickets.

Perth did not host any Asian Cup games and were livid Canberra also beat them to host the Big Bash League final last week.

It prompted Barnett to have a swipe at Manuka: "The WACA versus Manuka? I mean, I played football on Manuka - it's no great oval."


Rattenbury said it was simply jealousy and he was confident the CWC would again showcase Canberra's case to become a permanent venue for international and domestic cricket.

"The Big Bash was a sellout. It was disappointing to see the critique coming from other cities but I think it was just jealousy," he said.

"We got a great game here in Canberra [for the BBL final] and Manuka Oval is a great looking stadium and I think it's a great advertisement for Canberra.

"I think that people really enjoyed going to games [at the Asian Cup], even when the Socceroos were not involved.

"They went along, they enjoyed the culture, they enjoyed the class of the sporting events and it's going to be the same with the Cricket World Cup.

"I think Canberra's amply demonstrated that we've got the quality of facilities and the crowds that will come to great sporting events."

Rattenbury said budget discussions had begun and clarity in May surrounding the Mr Fluffy asbestos clean-up meant they would have a better picture of when the proposed enclosed Civic Stadium would be built.

In the meantime, he said the government would continue to maintain Canberra Stadium as it had proved during the Asian Cup it was still a world-class venue, especially since organisers said it was the best surface in the tournament.

"We need to make sure Canberra Stadium stays at a good standard," Rattenbury said.

"The Asian Cup underlined the fact that Canberra Stadium is still a great stadium.

"We will need [a new] one in the future, but Canberra remains our primary stadium and we need to make sure enough money is put in to keep it to a good standard."

The big winners of the 74 organisations to receive a grant were Hockey ACT, which was given $250,000 to resurface an artificial pitch at Lyneham, while Volleyball ACT were granted $241,469 for the second instalment for their beach facility at Lyneham.