While Senator Zed Seselja's success in extracting $11.4 million from the Morrison government to overhaul and recommission the mothballed Australian Institute of Sport Arena deserves to be celebrated this is far from being a permanent solution to the ACT's stadium or arena woes.
The 41-year-old arena has been out of commission for sporting and live entertainment events for the past two years because of the poor state of repair into which it had been allowed to fall.
While the inconvenience of the closure was partly offset by the restrictions on large gatherings as a result of COVID-19 - and the space was able to be repurposed as a vaccination hub in 2021 and 2022 - this was a sad development given that from its inception the arena was meant to serve the people of Canberra as well as just the AIS.
ACT sporting organisations, concert promoters and others will all welcome the news that the venue is going to be made fully usable once again.
That said, you don't need to be a cynic to make the connection between what is shaping up to be a fiercely fought contest for the ACT's second Senate seat and the delivery of the money.
Some might say that if it was not for the strong challenges being mounted against Senator Seselja by both Climate 200 sponsored independent David Pocock and Kim for Canberra's Kim Rubenstein the money would not have materialised.
Despite Senator Seselja's assertion that this has been a low priority until recently it is curious that the federal government has waited until five minutes to midnight in the current parliamentary term.
The Senator's statement that: "I think it (the state of the arena) only became a significant problem when we had a reopening [after lockdowns] and large events were once again possible" is likely to raise eyebrows.
After all, wouldn't it have made a lot of sense to refurbish the space during the COVID hiatus in order to have it ready when the lockdowns came to an end?
Senator Seselja has already floated a previous commitment to upgrade the Wanniassa Oval to make it a 10,000 seat stadium.
That announcement appeared to be in response to an earlier pledge by Mr Pocock, a former Wallabies captain, to back a world-class convention and stadium complex in the heart of Civic.
Mr Pocock said the lack of such facilities was holding the city back. In addition to proposing a 20,000 seat stadium he also championed the reopening of the AIS facility on that occasion.
While it may come as a surprise that against the backdrop of COVID, war, homelessness and housing affordability, sporting facilities have emerged as a key battleground in the fight for the second ACT senate seat, the truth is this is a can that has been kicked down the road by both the federal and ACT governments for years.
This is the national capital and, like Washington, our global profile belies our relatively small population. Canberra needs facilities capable of hosting major sporting and entertainment events and conventions.
It is also home to one of the most successful basketball teams in the country, the Capitals, who find themselves unable to host other teams in a high-quality local facility common in other cities.
Existing facilities are well under par. Events that should be hosted in Canberra are lost to Sydney and Melbourne as a result.
This means the $11.4 million for the AIS arena is just the start and, as Mr Pocock has said, is essentially necessary maintenance. Whoever wins the election on March 21 will still need to stump a lot more cash to give the ACT the facilities it deserves.
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