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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1645..


MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I can see it written on her face. Fortunately, it is not possible for a Labor government elected at the election next year - talk down that possibility as they may - with, say, seven, eight or nine seats, to repeal the Hare-Clark electoral system countback procedure, because Labor members of this place themselves voted to entrench the electoral system. It can be done only by members of this party, the Liberal Party, whether in government or in opposition, also agreeing to support that arrangement. And, Mr Speaker, it is not going to happen.

Acton Peninsula - Demolition of Buildings

MS McRAE: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Humphries in his capacity as Minister for Planning. Minister, can you confirm that the contractor responsible for the demolition of the former Royal Canberra Hospital was told that he could not dump the rubble at Fairbairn Park because he did not have a permit; and when your department did issue him with a permit he was then told that he could not dump the rubble because he did not have the right permit? Minister, can you explain why the contractor was not issued with the correct permit, when the dumping of rubble at Fairbairn Park was always part of the demolition of the hospital?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I have to apologise to the Assembly. I was not rostered that day on the shopfront counter at PALM; so, I did not actually see that permit go out. I am very negligent in that report, and I am really very sorry about that. I will make sure I am there the next time the permit is issued. Mr Speaker, that is obviously a question that I will take on notice.

Mrs Carnell: How would he know whether the right permit was given?

MS McRAE: It has been in the paper every day for the last week. I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Are you aware then - and you can add this to your question on notice, Minister - that the failure of your department to ensure that the contractor is able to dump the fill will result in the demolition work being carried out at the hospital being stopped by Friday of this week? Can you reassure the house that you will start paying attention to what has been in the press for at least a week and that your department will have its act together by then?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I have paid very close attention to what has been in the media. As far as permits are concerned, my department's view has been, very consistently, that the required legal steps need to be taken before dumping of rubble from the Royal Canberra Hospital site occurs.

Ms McRae: You are an expert now. Why did you take the other one on notice?

MR HUMPHRIES: Because I do not know anything about a permit, Mr Speaker.


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