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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 816..


Gungahlin Drive extension

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, on 5 March you told this Assembly:

... the intention of the government is to build the GDE on the western alignment and to build it within the time frame outlined in the current capital works budget.

I now refer to comments made today on ABC by environmental consultant David Hogg and to his company's report on the Caswell Drive upgrading and associated works. In that report he said:

Some plants and animal species, including some threatened species, can be expected to be found only at certain times of the year, commonly within spring and/or summer. If survey for critical species is not programmed appropriately this could delay planning and assessment of the project by up to 12 months or, alternatively, necessitates decisions on the basis of predictive assessments rather than hard data.

Given that spring and summer have passed us by, and given the close proximity of Caswell Drive to the Gungahlin Drive route through Bruce and the fact that the same consultant has been retained to do the environmental work on that upgrade, do you now concede that the extension cannot be built in the time frame you committed to? If so, when will it be built?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. Mrs Dunne has part of her question incorrect. As I understand it, Mr Hogg has not made any comments on ABC radio, but comments attributed to his report have been reported. I think it is important to clarify that Mr Hogg himself has not made any comment to ABC radio. That is my understanding of the events this morning.

There will not be a delay in the timing of the Caswell Drive duplication project as part of the environmental study. The current timing of that project is still June 2003. The issues raised by Mr Hogg in his examination have been addressed. Additional work has been and is being undertaken since the completion of this report in December 2001. Additional work already undertaken by Environment ACT surrounding, in particular, issues around native orchids in the area has been completed.

The report on the radio is incorrect, and Mrs Dunne's question is also incorrect.

MRS DUNNE: I ask a supplementary question. I thank the minister for his answer. Minister, when will you bite the bullet and admit that the preliminary work you commissioned is not ready and that assessments in spring and summer have not been done? When will you admit that the western route is not a viable option within the timetable you have suggested, and when will you unqualifiedly draw away from this misplaced route?

MR CORBELL: The premise of Mrs Dunne's question is wrong. As I have just informed the Assembly, the issues raised by Mr Hogg have been addressed through subsequent work and work done prior to Mr Hogg's examination, work which he was


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