Off the Wall

One of our distinguished readers, Wendy Harmer, is as passionate a rugby league supporter as you can find.

She is also passionate about the upgrading of the home ground of the Manly Sea Eagles, Brookvale Oval.

Brookvale is, I am told, but a shadow of its former self because green groups have successfully blocked re-development and upgrading proposals and want the ground to become a public area.

Apparently there is a prospect that the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, will this week promise funding to upgrade Brookvale Oval if he is elected Prime Minister.

The question I ask is simply this - why not?

If you have been following the election campaign, both sides have made promises to fund upgrading of a whole host of existing ovals around the nation, and even building new venues.

Both Labor and the Coalition have promised to help fund the redevelopment of the Geelong AFL home ground and to upgrade a Cairns oval so a Cairns team can be considered for inclusion in the AFL in the future.

Both sides have also promised new facilities for soccer and other sports in key marginal seats across the nation.

And both sides are committed to spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds on new and upgraded stadiums if Australia's Soccer World Cup bid is successful.

My concern is that the game's administrators are light years behind other codes when it comes to lobbying for the public funding for upgrading of facilities...and for new stadiums.

They would struggle to go three rounds with a well oiled revolving door!

If Wendy Harmer, and her supporters, can persuade Tony Abbott to commit to funding the upgrade of Brookvale Oval, good luck to them.

Wouldn't it be helpful that, limited though their influence is, the ARL/NRL got behind them?

Sport deserves to get the same access to taxpayer funding as the opera, ballet, museums and art galleries get.

You don't hear complaints when governments tip, and oppositions promise to tip, hundreds of millions in cultural venues - and then subsidise their operations as well.

They are entitled to it - but so is sport!