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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 3756..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Minister, could you confirm whether the wildlife research and monitoring unit was engaged as a consultant to help prepare this preliminary assessment and explain how you can reconcile this with the conflict of interest that this consultancy has created for Environment ACT?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I will have to take the question on notice and find out what part the unit had in the process.

MS TUCKER: I ask the minister a supplementary question, which the minister can take on notice as well if he needs to. The preliminary assessment also states that the development is not dependent on construction of either the eastern and western alignment of the Gungahlin Drive extension nor does it affect the alignment of either route, and that the western alignment of the Gungahlin Drive extension does not represent a fundamental barrier to the proposed development. So why is this government so set against the western alignment?

MR SMYTH: I guess that puts paid to the rumour that has been put around that we are going the eastern route to help the developers. The developers have said they do not want that assistance. The eastern route was chosen by the government after a large amount of work was done as offering the best route for that road.

ACTION - Privatisation

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Last night on local television news the minister said the privatisation of ACTION "was not on the government's agenda". Can the minister explain to the Assembly the nature of the government's agenda? Is it an agenda with a time frame similar to that of Prime Minister John Howard, who promised that he would "never, ever" introduce a GST?

Mr Corbell: Good question.

MR SMYTH: It is a good question because it grows out of something that Mr Hargreaves put into the media because the does not understand section 36 of the proposed act. He said that the proposed act allows the early cancellation of a licence. He said, "Well, licence equals EBA, therefore we are going to break our word with the union." Not true, Mr Speaker.

Mr Berry: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: surely the answer has to relate to the question.

MR SPEAKER: And it is relating.

Mr Berry: No.

MR SPEAKER: Ministers can answer question as they see fit.

Mr Berry: Well, I suppose we could move dissent.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth is leading into the answer. He is preparing the ground.

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