Greens call on Federal Govt to reverse priorities and keep AIS Fitness Centre open

Australian Greens

The ACT Greens have today called on the Morrison Government to reverse a decision by Sports Australia to permanently close the AIS Fitness Centre in Bruce, which has long provided vital services, particularly to older and less mobile Canberrans.

The decision stands in stark contrast to the Morrison Government’s $500 million redevelopment of the Australian War Memorial, showing warped priorities.

“Canberra is a vibrant city full of people who are increasingly sick of the way Federal Governments of both stripes take us for granted and treat our home as a trophy,” Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo said today.

“This demonstrates what the Federal Government’s priorities are. They are keen to spend $500 million to turn the beautiful War Memorial into a grandiose weapons showcase, but are happy to leave the Canberra community behind by closing aqua classes for seniors.”

Jo Clay, ACT Greens Member for Ginninderra, wrote to Federal Minister for Sports and Aging, Senator Richard Colbeck, about the announcement, calling on him to ensure that the AIS Fitness Centre stays open.

Mr Hollo has forwarded the letter to Australian Greens spokesperson for Sport, Senator Lidia Thorpe, and spokesperson for Aging, Senator Janet Rice, who will raise the issue with the Minister.

As stated by Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo

As someone who suffers with a chronic pain condition, I am all too aware of how difficult it is to find suitable high quality services.

It’s disgraceful to close down this much-valued and important community service because the Federal government doesn’t consider it profitable. Health services are about delivering community benefit, not making money.

This decision shows once again the result of the major parties being able to take Canberra for granted. A crossbench Federal MP would be able to change things federally the way an MLA like Jo Clay can change things locally.

As stated by Jo Clay, Greens MLA for Ginninderra

Many Belconnen locals have been looking forward to returning to fitness centre classes at the AIS when we come out of lockdown. This decision means our community will now miss out.

I love water sports, they’re a gentle and low-impact form of exercise. Water aerobics and recovery programs like those that were offered at the AIS are a great way to exercise across ages and stages of life.

With so few public pools in the region I fear it will be difficult for people to find replacement aqua classes that are manageable to get to.

People have shared stories with me about the incredible staff at the AIS and the high level of support they received. As good as the facilities themselves are, the greater loss would be the loss of the connection between the staff and the clients who have been using the facilities for many years, or in some cases decades.

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