Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2449..
MR QUINLAN: First of all, I do not think it was necessary to use the words "in an attempt to salvage some" in the preamble to the question. You should appreciate that a government needs to be in a position to say when it will make an announcement because there are more things hanging off the decision than simply when it happened. There are people to be advised and there were negotiations going on. If the question is based on that premise, then it really does not deserve answering. In the general context, the intent is that the additional funds allocated to CTEC will be spent in some manner or form with a view to targeting increased tourism. I do not want to be more specific than that because those decisions have not been made. I will announce them when they are made; later than now.
MR CORNWELL: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Wood. I refer to the cancellation of the planned refurbishment of the Deakin shops. Despite the expenditure of, I understand, $100,000 on a management study, a forward design study and a traffic planning study and despite the commitments made by the previous government, this government has seen fit to divert funds from its current budget, except to the extent of filling in a few pot holes around there in Deakin. Minister, can you explain to me and the people of this suburb where the money was diverted to and can you explain why you knew nothing about the previous plans when you met some Deakin traders?
MR WOOD: To where was the money diverted? I am not sure that the money was diverted. It was not allocated. Mr Smyth has said that there were assurances from his government that something would be done. Did Mr Smyth ever actually say that it definitely would be in the program for 2002-03? I am not sure that that is the way the capital works program works. The way I understand that program is that it is up for grabs every year.
The money was not diverted, Mr Cornwell. It just was not allocated to the project. It did not get high enough on the list. It is a project that does need to be done-there is no doubt about that-but I am sure that you understand the processes here in that there is a cut-off point and sometimes you are above it and sometimes you are below it. In this case, such funding just was not high enough on the list.
Secondly, about not knowing anything about it, I had briefings from officers before those people came to the meeting with me, Mr Cornwell. I do say that I was not aware of it last year and I was not aware of it the year before last because it had not been a part of my focus, but I understood the circumstances in fairly broad terms, I suppose, ahead of that meeting with the traders, who were a good bunch of people.
MR CORNWELL: I have a supplementary question. Minister, now that you are aware of these concerns, I would therefore ask: what do you intend to do about the concerns held by not only the traders, whom you have said are a good bunch of people, but also the residents of this good, essentially Liberal-voting, suburb? What do you plan to do to allay the fears of many of the people of this suburb, an ageing suburb with, therefore, many elderly residents who are properly concerned about the condition of the Deakin shopping centre?