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22nd  June 2021

ACT Government must reveal all about ChooseCBR

Shadow Minister for Business Leanne Castley will move a motion in the Legislative Assembly today calling for a comprehensive audit of the ChooseCBR scheme.

The motion calls on the Legislative Assembly to write to the ACT Auditor-General by the end of the sitting week requesting he conduct the audit.

Ms Castley said there are serious questions about the scheme’s integrity which is why an independent audit is necessary.

“On June 3 the Business Minister said the government had made the revamped ChooseCBR “as simple as possible” yet it was riddled with problems,” Ms Castley said.

“Just 24 hours after the scheme was resurrected last Friday, the funds dried up, with reports that vouchers were redeemed late into the night.

“How did the government monitor the scheme to ensure vouchers were not misused and people were doing the right thing? I raised this concern with the Minister’s office before the scheme kicked off.”

Other issues an audit should examine include:

  • Which businesses benefitted and by how much?

  • How many people benefitted and by how much?

  • Was there any misappropriation of funds?

  • What were the admin and marketing costs as well as the costs of designing the website and fixing the raft of technical problems?

“We know the ChooseCBR trial was a dud with only 336 small businesses participating yet less than one quarter of eligible businesses signed up for the revamped scheme,” Ms Castley said.

“Canberrans must have confidence the government got it right and ChooseCBR supported struggling businesses that genuinely needed help.

“The Canberra Liberals support measures that assist our 30,000 small businesses which employ one in four Canberrans, but the Minister must be upfront with the community about how the scheme operated.

“Was the government up to the job? Only a comprehensive independent audit will reveal the true story and help Canberrans answer that question,” concluded Ms Castley.

21st  June 2021

Audit of ChooseCBR scheme needed

Small businesses and their customers have been left frustrated and disappointed after allocated funds for the ChooseCBR scheme were exhausted just 24 hours after it was relaunched on Friday.

Shadow Minister for Business Leanne Castley said business owners and members of the community have raised concerns directly with her office regarding the program.

“While it is pleasing to see that some Canberrans embraced the relaunched scheme, it remains unclear if the $2 million went to businesses that really need it,” Ms Castley said.

“Concerns have been raised with me about the misuse of vouchers and the inequitable distribution of funds.

“It’s a real kick in the guts for small businesses who put in upwards of 15 hours’ work to be eligible for each of the iterations of ChooseCBR, only to receive $20 or $50 in total benefit.

“I welcome any measure that assists Canberra businesses. However, this scheme has been plagued with problems from the beginning and caused undue stress on business owners, staff and customers.

“The Minister for Business must be upfront and transparent with Canberrans and tell them where and how the vouchers were redeemed.

“The government must also explain how they got it so wrong not once but twice after they were forced to suspend the program last week following a series of technical difficulties.

“How much money did they waste fixing problems that should never have occurred in the first place and could have been better spent helping our small businesses?

“A full and transparent audit of the scheme should give the community the answers they are looking for,” Ms Castley concluded.

16th June 2021

The spectacular failure of ChooseCBR, which was so bad the government had to shut it down, shows the incompetence of the Labor-Greens Government.

For weeks the Business Minister has been talking up the revamped scheme and urging businesses and Canberrans to get on board. Yet when they did, the system crashed, with the Minister saying it was all too much.

“The ChooseCBR trial was a dud and the revamped ChooseCBR scheme a complete farce,” Shadow Business Minister Leanne Castley said.

“The Business Minister boasted how great it would be but all it has proved is how hopeless and incompetent this government is.

“Serious questions remain for the Minister including how the government is monitoring the scheme to ensure people do the right thing.

“I raised this concern with the Minister’s office before the scheme began; how can the government guarantee vouchers will not be misused, and the money is going where it is meant to go?”

Other questions include:

  • What is being done about server capacity and the system’s database so ChooseCBR will work next time round?

  • Why did the government get it so wrong and drastically underestimate uptake?

  • How can Canberrans have confidence the almost $400,000 worth of vouchers claimed were genuine purchases?

“The key question to the Minister is can you guarantee ChooseCBR will actually work?” said Ms Castley.

“In other words is the Labor-Greens Government up to the job, because to this point it has been a total failure and a letdown for Canberra businesses,” Ms Castley concluded.

12th May 2021

Eight years after government plans more parking, Gungahlin businesses are still waiting

Shadow Minister for Business and Liberal MLA for Yerrabi Leanne Castley will put forward a motion in the Legislative Assembly today calling on the government to explain why extra parking planned in 2013 for the Yerrabi Pond foreshore has not occured.

Ms Castley said eight years ago the government undertook planning and community consultation for more parking to support businesses at the Yerrabi Pond foreshore, but nothing has happened.

“The Labor Government undertook planning work in 2013 for up to 28 parking spots in the grassed median area of Nellie Hamilton Drive at Yerrabi Pond so customers could access businesses on the foreshore,” Ms Castley said.

“There was limited parking for patrons of the Curves fitness centre, and it is the same problem today for the restaurants, hairdressers and other businesses.  Some businesses such as Curves and the Thai Herb restaurant have been forced to relocate while several cafes have closed.

“Parking is vital for small business, but the government doesn’t get it. Instead, the Business Minister sets up a ‘discovery phase’ and yet another taskforce. 

“Last month the government also opposed the Canberra Liberals’ call to set up a Small Business Ministerial Advisory Council. The government’s inaction shows its neglect of the Gungahlin community and small business.”

The Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and Territory and Municipal Services discussed the issue at a November 6, 2013 meeting. They confirmed a project had been designed for parking in the median strip and there had been community consultation.

Speaking about the issue in 2013, the Territory and Municipal Services boss Gary Byles said “That specific issue (parking) is a priority, but it is a priority along with many other priorities … The minister will make the decision.”

The motion calls on the government to provide a timeline for when parking will be provided by no later than the last sitting day in August 2021

30th April 2021

Struggling small businesses in the ACT have seen orders for rooftop solar panels dry up as thousands of Canberrans wait for the government’s loan scheme to begin.

Local businesses could be waiting at least another six months for customers as the scheme that was meant to kick off in April will not start until the second half of this year.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced the $150 million sustainable scheme in early August last year and businesses which supply and install solar rooftop panels immediately felt the pinch.

“Yet again the Labor-Greens Government have left small business high and dry,” Shadow Minister for Business Leanne Castley said today.

“I have talked to struggling businesses in the ACT that are barely hanging in there as thousands of Canberrans have put a hold on purchases until the scheme kicks off.

“More than 3500 Canberrans have expressed interest in the scheme but until it begins that is more than 3500 customers that businesses do not have.

“The government expected the scheme to be up and running by April but now we are told Canberrans will have to wait until at least the second half of this year.”

This blow to business follows the hit they copped last week when the government opposed the Canberra Liberals’ call to set up a Small Business Ministerial Advisory Council.

“Canberra’s small business community continually gets ignored by this government,” Ms Castley said.

“Business Minister Tara Cheyne refused to set up a Small Business Ministerial Advisory Council saying it would be a burden on small business and time consuming. In other words, the government can’t be bothered.”

Ms Castley also raised concerns about how the loan scheme would be run and monitored to ensure cowboy operators do not cash in and compromise safety.

“The Chief Minister must do the right thing by business and immediately announce an official start date for the scheme to give business certainty,” Ms Castley said.

23rd April 2021

Small business needs a genuine say in decision-making and the government should establish an ACT Small Business Ministerial Advisory Council.

Shadow Minister for Business Leanne Castley will today introduce a motion in the Legislative Assembly calling on the government to set up a council comprising small business experts – small business owners themselves.

Ms Castley said the government has Ministerial Advisory Councils representing veterans, women, our multicultural sector, older Canberrans, youth and the LGBTIQ+ community but has ignored the small business community.

“A Small Business Ministerial Advisory Council would provide practical, strategic advice to the Chief Minister on policy and comprise the people who most understand small business – the owners themselves,” said Ms Castley.

“It is vital the government understands the issues affecting small business and has policies which help businesses to grow instead of failed schemes like the ChooseCBR trial which only 336 small businesses signed up for.

“The Canberra Liberals want the ACT to be the best small business-friendly place in Australia. To achieve that you need to give small business a real say in decision-making not just set up taskforces and committees.”

The ACT government established a Small and Micro Business Advisory Council in 2002 which was chaired by the ACT Small Business Commissioner.

Former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope praised the council for its “outstanding contribution” but it was disbanded several years later and replaced with an ACT Skills Commission. The Office of the Small Business Commissioner was also abolished after a year.

15th April 2021

THE ACT Government wasted $600,000 of taxpayers money on a failed scheme to release Eastern bettongs into the wild, with all 67 bettongs and their young perishing, Estimates answers reveal.

Despite the bettongs dying, mostly due to foxes, Environment Minister Rebecca Vassarotti insisted the project was a success.

Ms Vassarotti said the objective was to see if bettongs could survive in an unfenced environment, adding “the results … provide valuable insight into the level of fox control required for bettongs to persist in this environment.”

Shadow Environment Minister Leanne Castley said it seemed a harebrained scheme.

“We know foxes and cats are predators that hunt bettongs so why release bettongs into the wild?” Ms Castley said.

“It appears to be an exorbitant amount of money spent on a trial to release bettongs, knowing they will be in peril, counting how many days they will survive.

“Almost 10 years ago the ACT government and ANU brought over 35 bettongs from Tasmania which were released into the cat and fox-free Mulligans Flat.

“The bettong population has since exploded thanks to food and no feral predators and today there are more than 100 bettongs bouncing about Mulligans Flat Sanctuary, so why such an expensive and foolish trial?”

Ms Castley called on the Environment Minister to rule out any more bettong trials and guarantee she will spend money sensibly on the environment.

“Planting more trees would be a great place to start given the government has an ambitious 30 per cent tree canopy target by 2045,” she said.

“The Canberra Liberals support at least a 30 per cent target but this year the government will only plant 9000 trees which is pathetically low,” Ms Castley concluded.

14th April 2021

Proposed plans to upgrade Lonsdale Street in Braddon next year must meet the needs of local businesses following genuine consultation.

Members of the community and business owners in Braddon hold concerns over proposed upgrades that would result in the loss of parking spaces.

Canberra Liberals Leader and MLA for Kurrajong, Elizabeth Lee, said under the current proposed plan up to 25 carparks could be slashed, without additional parking provided in the area.

“Local businesses and customers have told us repeatedly that parking on Lonsdale Street is already difficult as it is,” said Ms Lee.

“Cutting a further 25 spaces would put even more pressure on parking in Braddon, which is rightly leaving businesses and their customers concerned.

“Any plans to upgrade the area must ensure there are parking options available and must include genuine consultation with local traders,” Ms Lee concluded.

Shadow Minister for Business, Leanne Castley, said cuts to parking would result is small businesses losing customers.

“The number one priority for business is getting customers through the door, and fewer carparks means fewer customers, it’s as simple as that,” said Ms Castley.

“Parking is already a big concern for business owners in Braddon, losing a further 25 carparks is significant.

“We want people to visit Braddon’s bars, cafes and restaurants but they will go elsewhere if they cannot find a park, and many won’t return,” Ms Castley concluded.

9th April 2021

The Labor-Greens Government ignored Canberra business owners from the multicultural community in its failed ChooseCBR scheme and must include targeted support for them when the program is revived.

In December last year, Canberra Liberals Leader Elizabeth Lee wrote to Business Minister Tara Cheyne asking what government support was available to ensure that businesses run by Canberrans with English as a second language (ESL) could be involved in the voucher scheme.

“My team and I have spoken with many business owners about the ChooseCBR voucher program,” said Ms Lee.

“Many small businesses across Canberra are run by individuals and families with English as a second language. Unfortunately, many of these business owners had never heard of the ChooseCBR scheme; let alone have any information or support to access the scheme.

“Those who had, found it too difficult to access the program due to language and other barriers. It would have been great to see the program rolled out in a way to ensure the ease for all businesses to sign up and get involved.

“The Minister responsible for administering the scheme, who is also Multicultural Affairs Minister, never responded to my letter or addressed what steps were taken to ensure business owners from our multicultural community understood and had support to access the scheme,” Ms Lee concluded.

Shadow Minister for Businesses, Leanne Castley, said it is no wonder only 336 of Canberra’s 30,000 small businesses signed up to the trial.

“Administration costs were a staggering $123,000 out of a total $500,000 spend, but still the Minister could not explain what, if anything, the government was doing to make sure small businesses run by traders with English as a second language could participate,” said Ms Castley.

“The rebooted scheme will not be a success if such a big group of small businesses cannot understand how to sign up and participate.

“So much for supporting Canberra’s struggling small business sector.

“I call on the Minister to explain how the rebooted scheme will be different this time and how she will ensure all of Canberra’s small businesses can participate so no one is left out,” Ms Castley concluded.

30th March 2021

Today’s Question Time has shown once again that Labor and the Greens are all talk and no action on the environment.

The Labor-Greens Government were asked questions today about a recent report that shows since 2013, urban vegetation in Canberra has reduced significantly from 60 per cent to 35 per cent.

Shadow Minister for Environment, Leanne Castley, said the report published by the Conservation Council and Monash University highlights Canberra as the worst-performing major city in Australia when it comes to urban vegetation decline.

“The significant reduction in urban vegetation across the ACT since 2013 has occurred under the watch of this Labor-Greens government,” Ms Castley said.

“The Parliamentary and Governing Agreement has climate change listed as the first priority for Labor and the Greens. This comes from the same government that has presided over the largest reduction in urban vegetation of any major city in Australia.

“It is clear this Labor-Greens government can talk the talk when it comes to the environment but following through with any real action is lacking.

“Greens leader, and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Minister Rattenbury, who has been a part of this government since the de-greening of Canberra began, has also failed to commission a major climate change review when legislation demanded it happen last October.

“These are not the actions of a government that is serious about the environment,” Ms Castley concluded.

23rd March 2021

WorkSafe ACT Inspectors were called to the closed Gungahlin Pool following complaints about silica dust affecting workers, Freedom of Information documents reveal.

Liberal MLA for Yerrabi Leanne Castley sought the documents which show inspectors visited the problem-plagued pool on July 24 last year to conduct an “Assessment for Respirable Silica Dust”.

The inspector’s report reveals: “We had received some concerns about large amounts of dust coming from some tiling work in the pool area and it was thought silica could be involved.”

The report states that five workers had been using angle grinders to remove the material which had glued the tiles to the concrete. It is unclear what the report concluded as most FOI documents were withheld, and information redacted.

“This is a serious concern which has only come to light due to my FOI inquiry,” Ms Castley said.

“Minister for Sport Yvette Berry must immediately explain what’s been going on and guarantee that no worker has been or will be exposed to silica dust.

“This is particularly urgent because the government has just signed with construction company Kynetic to fix the pool which will see big teams of workers on site.”

The Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement contains two references to silica dust (pages 13 & 18) and states the government will introduce stronger workplace regulations to protect tradespeople from silica dust.

In October 2019 WorkSafe inspectors shut down a prisoner transport area at the Supreme Court after silica was discovered. CPSU members had been raising serious safety concerns since moving to the new ACT Courts Facility.

11th March 2021

Canberrans will be slugged more than $1.5 million to fix the Gungahlin pool, Liberal MLA Leanne Castley revealed today.

Even though the Labor-Greens government signed the contract with construction company Kynetic yesterday, Minister Berry could not tell a Gungahlin community Council meeting last night how much it would cost.

The government previously said the pool will open by this summer; however, the contract has the ‘estimated date for completion’ as December 4, 2022.

“The debacle continues,” Ms Castley said today.

“The contract on TendersACT puts the bill at $1,519,200 but Minister Berry last night could not tell the Gungahlin Community Council the price.

“The government approached Kynetic to do the job and signed with them yesterday, so it does not appear credible the Minister did not have the cost at the meeting I attended last night.

“The Minister also did not know if Kynetic was a Canberra company, could not say how long the warranty would be and could not say if Kynetic would incur penalties if they run overtime.

“Minister Berry says the government will send in regular inspectors, but they did inspections when the pool was initially built which failed to pick up any of the issues we are now seeing.

“There are still so many unanswered questions and it is clear from this entire process Canberrans cannot have confidence in this process or the Minister,” Ms Castley concluded.

While Minister Berry told the Gungahlin meeting, she wanted the process to be very transparent, she said the contract with the original builder was not public and nor were the three reports to government by structural engineers and tiling experts about the pool’s problems.

Kynetic was paid more than $1m in 2018 to fix Erindale pool.

10th March 2021

Liberal Member for Yerrabi Leanne Castley MLA has called on Sport and Recreation Minister Yvette Berry to explain what is happening with the tender process to fix the problem-plagued Gungahlin pool.

During estimates hearings last week, Minister Berry said a tender process was underway to repair the pool, but no tenders have been published on the TendersACT website.

“Minister Berry must tell the community what is going on with the tender to find someone to complete the huge repair job if Gungahlin residents are to have any confidence in her claim the pool should be open by summer,” said Ms Castley.

“There is no confidence in this government to fix the pool properly, given no one can identify what exactly the problem is.

“The design and construction contract to build the $27.8m pool in 2014 was awarded through an open tender. What will be the process this time?

“All we know is the contract will involve a complete repair of the pool, but given it is shrouded in mystery and we don’t really know what the technical experts discovered, who knows what a contractor will find once all the tiles are removed.”

The Labor-Greens government settled with the construction company which built the pool with the builder handing over $400,000.

“I understand it will cost a lot more than $400,000 to fix our community pool, which has been closed for one year,” Ms Castley said.

“From day one I have been calling on Minister Berry to tell us how much the bill will be. The recent Budget allocated money to fix the pool for 2020-21 and 2021-22 but the government did not disclose the amount, so it is anyone’s guess.”

5th March 2021

‘Let’s get cleaning’ is the rallying call to Canberrans from Shadow Environment Minister Leanne Castley in the lead up to Clean Up Australia Day.

“Last year about 17,000 Canberrans joined Clean Up Australia events, removing more than 300 truckloads of rubbish from our parks, waterways, roadsides and school grounds,” Ms Castley said.

“I would love to beat that figure this year and urge Canberrans to join me in cleaning the environment we value so much in our bush capital.

“What a fantastic achievement that would be, mobilising as clean-up crusaders to improve our nature parks and green spaces, neighbourhoods and walking paths.

“Clean Up Australia Day is a fantastic initiative that brings together our community to focus on practical solutions to help protect our environment," Ms Castley concluded.

4th March 2021

Greens leader Shane Rattenbury has snubbed Canberrans by failing to commission a major climate change review when legislation demanded it happen last Octoboer, it was revealed at Estimates today.

Pressed about the review by Shadow Environment Minister Leanne Castley, Minister Rattenbury simply responded: ‘We need to get onto it, I believe it was due during the caretaker period.’

Mr Rattenbury was an MLA when the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010 passed the Assembly on 26 October 2010. Its principal target is to achieve net zero emissions by 30 June 2045.

“As Greens leader and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Minister Rattenbury should know better than anyone else that the Act requires a review after five and 10 years,” Ms Castley said.

“It is astounding the Minister could only say, ‘We need to get onto it’.

“These are laws Minister Rattenbury is responsible for. Canberrans are keen to know whether these laws are working or not and, as importantly, how the laws are helping them and our environment.”

Ms Castley said it was disappointing the Directorate did an ‘in house’ review after five years with no input from the public or the Legislative Assembly.

(Note: Section 26 of the Act states, “The Minister must review the operation of this Act and present a report of the review to the Legislative Assembly (a) as soon as practicable after the end of this Act’s 5th and 10th years of operation.”)

23rd February 2021

Only 336 of Canberra’s 30,000 small businesses signed up to the trial ChooseCBR scheme while admin costs were $123,000, it was revealed today.

Business Minister Tara Cheyne disclosed the figures at Estimates, proving the scheme was a dud and must be overhauled.

“I am staggered that $123,000 was spent on admin costs with only $370,000 worth of vouchers redeemed,” Liberals’ Shadow Minister for Business Leanne Castley said.

“Canberra’s struggling small businesses would be appalled.

“Only 336 of Canberra’s 30,000 small businesses signed up for this rushed scheme which is just over one per cent of businesses. What a joke.

“I asked Minister Cheyne how much more would be spent on admin when the $2 million scheme is rolled out and she could not answer.”

Ms Cheyne told Estimates the 336 figure was “not a bad starting point” but added, “I’d like to see it grow”.

“In business your ledger must always be in balance,” Leanne said. “If the sums don’t add up, you take action. If you run a trial that is a dud, you change it.

“You certainly don’t throw good money after bad which is why Minister Cheyne must go back to the drawing board and overhaul this failed ChooseCBR scheme,” Ms Castley concluded.

16th February 2021

The Labor-Greens Government has finally revealed some of the major repair works that are needed for Gungahlin Pool, Liberal MLA for Yerrabi Leanne Castley said today.

Sports and Recreation Minister Yvette Berry confirmed to the media yesterday that all tiles, levelling screeds and coatings of the Gungahlin Pool will have to be removed while a further investigation into the structure and joints is done.

The works will then require the installation of a new “pool tiling system” which includes waterproofing membrane and grout repairs.

Last week’s Budget allocated funding for repairs to be done as late as June 2022, but the Government did not reveal the cost.

“The amount of work to be done is massive,” Ms Castley said.

“The Minister needs to come clean and tell Gungahlin residents and families how long they will be without a pool.

“What the Minister has also failed to mention is when the repair will begin, how long will it take and how much will it have cost Canberrans when the pool does reopen.

“Gungahlin residents have been without their pool since June 2020. With money allocated in the budget for 2021-22, it possible these works will drag on until June 2022. This would be entirely unacceptable.

“This entire process has been a debacle,” Ms Castley concluded

15th February 2021

Shadow Minister for Business Leanne Castley has today called on the Labor-Greens Government to immediately set up an independent formal review of the failed ChooseCBR scheme.

“I am loathe to call for a review – Canberrans are cynical about them and so am I. But the government has $2 million for ChooseCBR in the budget and I do not want to see more money wasted,” said Ms Castley.

“Business Minister Tara Cheyne must immediately set up an independent formal review of ChooseCBR to understand what went wrong and what must change so it works well next time round.

“Let’s be clear – if the program does not help small business then it is a waste of money.

“The $500,000 trial in December failed – uptake was low, it was confusing, did not support micro-businesses and many customers who used vouchers did not spend anything extra.

“It takes courage to start and run a small business. I ran three caryards, employed five staff and it is tough.

“Canberra’s 30,000 small businesses deserve all the help and support they can get but all this government offers is token and confusing schemes that make little difference.

“Let’s do a proper review and make it available to the public so ChooseCBR can be resurrected and we are not throwing good money after bad,” Ms Castley concluded.

19th January 2021

HOT temperatures have seen Canberrans flocking to pools but we still have no idea what is wrong with the problem-plagued Gungahlin 50m pool and if it will reopen this year, Liberal MLA for Yerrabi Leanne Castley said today.

Ms Castley asked a stack of questions under Freedom of Information before Christmas about when repair work will begin and how much it will cost.

The Chief Minister’s Directorate said the “large number of documents” makes this “a challenging and resource intensive exercise” and has sought an extension until February 12 to respond.

The directorate also wants to exclude drafts and administrative documents from their search.

“All I want is answers from the Labor-Greens government,” Ms Castley said.

“Gungahlin residents and families want answers. They are the ones missing out over the school holidays when all the other pools are open and full. How insulting that they were advised to swim at Lakeside in Greenway which is 32kms away.”

Ms Castley had a briefing with Sports Minister Yvette Berry’s office on December 21 which said ‘experts’ were assessing tiling problems.

“Their message was basically ‘we’re working on it’,” Ms Castley said.

“That’s not good enough, not when the pool has been closed since March last year.

“It seems to me there is much more to this story than the Labor-Greens government is letting on. Why don’t they just come clean and tell us the truth?” Ms Castley said.

The $28.7 million Gungahlin Leisure Centre was opened by then Sports Minister Andrew Barr six years ago who described it as a ‘state of the art community facility’.

9th December 2020

Problems plaguing Gungahlin’s closed 50 metre pool have cast doubts over its reopening with residents left in the dark, Liberal MLA for Yerrabi Leanne Castley said today.

The $28.7 million Gungahlin Leisure Centre was opened by then Sports Minister Andrew Barr six years ago and the 50-metre pool has been closed since March.

Despite numerous defects and faults, no work has begun and no one knows when work will start.

“Then-minister Barr lauded the pool as a ‘state of the art facility’ and ‘truly wonderful community facility’ but it has been closed for nine months and no one knows what’s going on,” Ms Castley said.

“Mr Barr boasted that Gungahlin residents had ‘outstanding’ sporting and recreational facilities which turns out to be a joke.

“Gungahlin residents deserve to know what’s going on.

“What is wrong with the pool, how much will it cost to fix and when will work start and finish? Will the Gungahlin pool ever reopen?”

Ms Castley last week lodged questions with Sports Minister Yvette Berry, demanding information for the Gungahlin community.

Gungahlin’s squad swimmers have been forced to move to the Canberra Olympic Pool while lap swimmers have been advised to go to Lakeside Leisure Centre in Greenway which is 32kms away.

Regular swimmer Mark, from Amaroo, said it was frustrating as there were no other 50-metre pools in the area.

The 50-metre pool was closed for two months last year for maintenance. It is understood numerous faults were discovered at the time, including drainage and tiling problems.