Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1019..
MR CORBELL: The assumption behind Mrs Dunne's comment is simply wrong. It is wrong because my comments in relation to the issuing of a lease were on the basis that the previous lease had not expired. The problem is that Brendan Smyth deliberately let it expire so that a new lease could not be issued. Again, Mrs Dunne seeks to quote me completely out of context-in fact, quote me in a quite misleading way.
What happened with the dragway was a disgrace. It was a disgrace because the previous minister refused to act. The previous minister refused to exercise an option. Doing so would not, in my view, have put the territory in the position that he claimed but would have at least allowed the dragway to continue with the option of operating at its previous lease adjacent to the Canberra airport. Clearly, the government is not able to undo every past wrong of the Liberals. This happens to be one of them.
MRS DUNNE: I have a supplementary question. Minister, when will you get serious about negotiating with the Canberra International Dragway, as you said on 30 August 2000 the previous government should have done? When will you get serious about finding and reaching a suitable agreement on a permanent venue, or have you stepped back from the views that you expressed on 30 August 2000 that drag racing was a legitimate sport that had economic and social benefits for the community?
MR CORBELL: I have met with representatives of the Canberra International Dragway. They have explained to me the details of their proposal and they have located a suitable site. That site has been assessed through a study that the previous minister, Mr Stefaniak, paid for. Currently, the dragway proposal also involves a significant request for a capital injection for the construction of the facility. Until the issues surrounding the funding arrangements are resolved one way or another, it is not appropriate to proceed further with the land and planning issues.
I have advised the dragway of that position. It is aware of that and I understand that it has met or is planning to meet with my colleague the Treasurer, Mr Quinlan, to discuss the financial assistance that it is seeking in relation to its proposal.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Deputy Chief Minister in his capacity as minister for racing. I ask whether the minister can update the Assembly on the current dispute between New South Wales and the ACT.
MR QUINLAN: This is something I did want to bring the house up to date on, and I thank you for the question, Mr Hargreaves. It turns out this is a problem which has been festering for a number of years in relation to sports bookmaking and our relationship with New South Wales. There were meetings with the previous government, but nothing was done either to redress or dismiss even the overtures from New South Wales.
Nevertheless, I now find myself facing, I have to say, a somewhat intractable New South Wales minister for racing who seems to be the leader of the push in a combined effort to try, at least, to bring not just the ACT into line but in fact to knock the ACT out of thoroughbred racing, harness racing or dog racing altogether. The dispute, of course, swings on the accommodation of sports bookmakers in the territory and an actual lack of