Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3404..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
as determined by the government in 1997, is still valid now, and I believe that the eastern route should go ahead. I thank the Assembly for their support in validating the government's position.
MR CORBELL (5.55), in reply: It would be fair to say that I and other members of the Labor Party, along with other members who have chosen to support this motion this evening, feel a strong sense of disappointment. That disappointment is reinforced by the fact that this decision today is completely unnecessary. It is unnecessary because we all understand what the process is from here. We all understand that just because the Assembly has given its endorsement this evening to the government's preferred alignment, it in no way means that construction on this road starts tomorrow, although I am sure that in the coming months we will see Liberal candidates suggesting just that. In doing that, they will be grossly misleading people in the Canberra community. The realty is that physical construction of the road does not commence until next financial year, and the bulk of the work occurs in the year after that.
The territory's proposal to vary the Territory Plan must be followed by an amendment to the National Capital Plan, which we all know faces the prospect of having to pass through a disallowance motion in the Senate. We all know that at the moment there is not even a proposal before the federal parliament in relation to a variation to the National Capital Plan and therefore no motion of disallowance.
We all know that the National Capital Authority has said that the territory should not receive gazettal of this variation until its own processes are complete. We all know that the process that the National Capital Authority has to complete will not take place until after the October territory election. So the process the government has pursued up to this point this evening is entirely about political positioning-nothing more and nothing less. It makes no direct impact on the timing of the construction of this road, regardless of its alignment.
I would like to respond to some comments in the debate, first to the comments of Mr Moore. Mr Moore finds it so easy to make decisions when he knows he is not on the ballot paper in October. Mr Moore is the man who stood time and again by the western alignment. He is the man who said, even when the spur road was removed, that he could not support the eastern alignment. He is the man of principle in this place. Mr Moore has done the final sell-out this evening. How easy it is to make decisions when your name is not on the ballot paper. Mr Moore will be remembered for the act of political bastardry which he committed this evening.
Mr Moore suggested that the Labor Party's position to pursue the western alignment would delay the road by up to two years. That was his exaggerated claim. Mr Moore has to say that, now that he has chosen to side again with the Liberals. But we all know that the reality is different. Labor's commitment is clear. The road will be built in accordance with the existing capital works timetable. But that should not preclude the appropriate level of investigation that is needed-leaving all the other issues aside-particularly in relation to the government's signalled intention to now shift the road 200 metres to the east of Caswell Drive, Aranda. Is the government seriously saying they are going to do that without any assessment? That seems to be an issue which they like to gloss over. No, there will not be a delay. No, the road will not be delayed. But the appropriate work can and should and still will be done if Labor is elected to government in October.