Fears for the future of Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre in wake of state government privatisation plan

TEAM WORK: Girl Guides NSW and ACT hosted a superhero-themed regatta at Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre in 2014. Picture: David Stewart
TEAM WORK: Girl Guides NSW and ACT hosted a superhero-themed regatta at Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre in 2014. Picture: David Stewart

THE state’s P&C has warned outdoor adventures at school camps would become too costly for disadvantaged students if the state government privatised Sport and Recreation centres, such as the centre at Myuna Bay.

The Myuna Bay centre is one of a dozen such facilitites around the state which are subject to a review by the state government of how they are managed and operated.

Among the options on the table is outsourcing their operation to non-government organisations (NGOs).

NSW Parents and Citizens (P&C) Federation president Susie Boyd said the centres had introduced thousands of students to outdoor activities such as bushwalking, rock climbing and canoeing for about 70 years.

“Sport and Rec centres are educational facilities – one that many students have benefited from at some point in their school years,” Ms Boyd said.

“Students develop important team work and problem-solving skills through the outdoor challenges they face at these camps.

“However, private operators wanting to make a profit would raise costs to parents, so the most disadvantaged schools and students would miss out.

“The NSW government should not be setting up Sport and Rec centres as cash cows.”

Ms Boyd said the cost to the NSW Budget of running the camps was small and had dropped year on year.

The centres cost $3.3 million in 2013-14, which dropped to $2.6 million in 2014-15, and $1.7 million in 2015-16, she said.

“Sport and Rec centres are far from a burden to taxpayers,” Ms Boyd said. “We call on the government to scrap plans to privatise their operations to ensure they continue to play their important role in NSW education, remaining accessible to all kids.”

Independent Lake Maqcquarie MP Greg Piper said he was concerned for the future of the Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre.

“I have had meetings with staff representatives who fear that the operation of Myuna Bay and Point Wolstoncroft will be privatised, putting at risk a range of programs including some for people with a disability,” Mr Piper said.

“These centres have served generation after generation of children from the local area and from well beyond. I’d hate to see them lost or diminished.”

Mr Piper said he had requested a full briefing from the government on where it was up to with its review.

Sports Minister Stuart Ayres had told Mr Piper that whatever comes out of the review, which was due next month, the sites would not be sold.

He assured they would continue to operate as Sport and Recreation centres, the MP said.