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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1229..


MR SPEAKER: I am sure Mr Humphries, as a trained lawyer, understands that, if you have not got something, you cannot have anything supplementary to it. I am prepared to be wrestled to the ground on this. I will let Mrs Dunne ask whatever she wants to ask in the form of a supplementary question, and then we will see.

MRS DUNNE: I will ask my supplementary question. Minister, have you consulted with the ACT Rugby League, ACT Rugby Union and Australian Rugby Union about your proposal to plough up the AIS/Canberra Stadium car parks at about the same time they propose to hold world cup matches in Canberra? He has not answered that question.

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I will ignore the second part of Mrs Dunne's proposition. That is her assertion; it is not the approach this government will be adopting. The government is engaging with all stakeholders and speaking with them on the issue. In case Mrs Dunne did not hear it, I have already indicated that I have had clear and fruitful discussions with Mr Mark Sinderberry and Mr Jim Ferguson-on behalf of the ACT Rugby Union-particularly in relation to the world cup issue. That meeting was certainly satisfactory from my perspective, and it is my understanding that those gentlemen were quite pleased with the response that government was able to provide on that issue.

Mental illness and substance abuse

MR CORNWELL: My question is to Mr Stanhope, the Minister for Health. Minister, I refer to a meeting held last week under the auspices of the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund to discuss mental illness, which was opened by Dr Penny Gregory of the department, who left, I might add, before the question time began. Minister, can you advise why no officer of the ACT Department of Health and Community Care was on the panel to answer questions on such matters as schizophrenia, including a possible link with marijuana smoking, raised by the more than 200 people in attendance at the meeting?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Cornwell, for the question. Mr Cornwell, I regret that I cannot answer your specific question. I do not know whether it was the intent of the meeting that officers of the Department of Health and Community Care would be standing ready and willing to answer questions. I am not aware of that. I am sure, if that were the desire of the organisers of that particular meeting, then officers of the department would have been only too ready and willing to provide whatever assistance they could, as is always their want.

As you know, Mr Cornwell, we in the ACT are blessed with a thoroughly professional public service, a group of dedicated public servants who go out of their way to consult and to consult fully, and to offer whatever assistance they can at all times. I can only assume, Mr Cornwell, that it was not an explicit request of the organisers of that particular committee that there be an officer of the department available to participate in the question and answer session, as you suggest; otherwise an officer would have been there. If that is not the case, then I can only assume that there was some other pressing issue requiring the attention of Dr Gregory, and that she responded to that.

Implicit in your question is a criticism of the department that I would think is unwarranted.


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