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Queensland Government looks to new management for last Active Recreation Centres
Queensland Sport and Recreation Minister Steve Dickson has announced the opening of an Expressions of Interest period for the operation of three Queensland Active Recreation Centres.
Minister Dickson explained "as flagged in the State Budget, we are committed to putting new facility management models in place at Active Recreation Centres at Yeppoon, Magnetic Island and Leslie Dam.
"The former Labor Government closed, sold, or transferred ownership of six under-performing Active Recreation Centres across Queensland - at Christmas Creek, Ficks Crossing, Lake Julius, Storm King Dam, Seaforth and Lake Perseverance.
"As part of this year's State Budget process, the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing (NPRSR) has identified three centres the Government can no longer afford to support, due to the high level of public subsidy required and low usage rates.
"Through the Expression of Interest process, we are giving interested parties the opportunity to run the Centres, with the hope of ensuring they can operate into the future."
Minister Dickson says the Magnetic Island Active Recreation Centre in particular is costing too much, adding "it's not working - it's costing over $200,000 a year, that's the loss we are making on this particular facility."
New management for the Magnetic Island camp is backed by Townsville MP John Hathaway who says that the facility is losing money that could be better spent elsewhere.
Hathaway told the ABC "things are tight, things that are not as essential need to placed lower down the priority for family budget expenditure and this is what this Government is doing.
"We don't want to close it, we want to find a way that it can continue and be sustainably continued and still provide community benefit."
However, Federal Member for Mount Isa, Rob Katter, says the Magnetic Island centre should continue to be operated by the Government and not put out to tender as planned.
Supporters of the Magnetic Island Centre, have begun an online campaign to save the facility.
A Facebook page has been started which prompts people to express their support for the camp.
Lorna Hempstead from the Magnetic Island Community Development Association says there is a genuine groundswell of support to keep the Picnic Bay camp open.
Hempstead explains "there's a Facebook site which I understand was started by some of the students who use the camp, saying they want the camp to be saved.
"It's very important to them and we have sent that link through to various people saying here's the community speaking to you directly and this is the way young people communicate."
Hempstead says many questions over the rationale for the camp's possible closure still have not been answered, as well as simple statistics such as the number of patrons and yearly nights occupied.
Further information on the Expressions of Interest period is available at www.nprsr.qld.gov.au
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