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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1552..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

health department inspectors. Has the government looked at using this as a measure to combat the rate of teenage smoking in the ACT?

MR STANHOPE: I am afraid I do not know the answer to that question, Ms Dundas. I will take some advice on the modus operandi of our inspectors and on what basis we seek to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to young people. I do not know what enforcement mechanisms are in place, but I will be happy to pursue the matter.

There is probably an interesting debate to be had, Ms Dundas, but at another time and place, about the extent to which the enforcement of criminal penalties or the prohibition of sales are effective in preventing the uptake of any substance, illicit or otherwise. But that is a debate for another day.

Light rail system

MRS CROSS: My question is to the Chief Minister and regards light rail. Chief Minister, at the February Gungahlin Community Council meeting, your minister responsible for transport policy, Mr Corbell, answered a question regarding the government's position on light rail. Mr Corbell said in his answer that, even if his feasibility study into the transport needs of Canberra shows clearly that light rail is a viable and cost-effective option for Gungahlin, Labor was not committed to its implementation at this stage. Does Mr Corbell's statement represent executive policy?

MR SPEAKER: Order! I do not think you can ask the question.

MRS CROSS: Yes, you can, Mr Speaker. According to standing order 117 (c) (ii), questions shall not ask ministers:

to announce Executive policy, but may seek an explanation regarding the policy of the Executive and its application, and may ask the Chief Minister whether a Minister's statement represents Executive policy; ...

MR SPEAKER: That is as long as it is not asking the Chief Minister to announce executive policy, and I am sure the Chief Minister will not, anyway.

MR STANHOPE: I endorse the response that Mr Corbell gave to the question. It seems to be particularly wise. This government is engaged in a study of a range of transport options, pursuing a commitment that we have to develop sustainable transport policies for the ACT over time. There is no doubt that one of the significant issues facing this community is the extent to which we can develop sustainable transport options over time. That is why the government is determined to pursue the particular study that Mr Corbell is in the process of instituting.

The answer that he gave seems quite reasonable to me in the context of saying, "Look, we have launched a study, and we have launched it because we are concerned about the issue and because we know that sustainable transport for this city is a major issue that the community needs to grapple with and face up to, so we are going to do the work."


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