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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4091..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

are other defendants, there are other insurance companies and there are a range of other issues that are simply beyond the control of the ACT government.

We are talking about a whole range of issues that make it simply not possible for me to stand up as Attorney-General and say, "Look, we'll fix it. We'll just ignore the other defendants. We'll ignore the other insurance companies. We'll just pay whatever it takes."That just would not be responsible. I have to say that we had sought to have the matter mediated; we have sought an agreement from Mr Collaery and the Benders' counsel to independent mediation of this matter. We are happy to submit to independent mediation. It has not been for want of trying or effort on our part.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Stanhope. Before I go to Mrs Cross for a possible supplementary question I would like to welcome the newly elected SRC representatives and campus captains from MacKillop Catholic College. Welcome. Mrs Cross, would you like to ask a supplementary question?

MRS CROSS: Yes, Mr Speaker, I'd like to thank the Chief Minister for his answer. Minister, is it true that a legal device known as a Calderbank letter is sometimes used as an inducement-in effect, a threat or risk that a litigant may have to wear the costs if they don't accept a settlement offer? Minister, are you able to rule out instructing the Government Solicitor to issue a Calderbank letter in settlement negotiations with the Bender family?

MR SPEAKER: Do we get into the area of sub judice matters? I think Mrs Cross is asking for a legal opinion of the Attorney-General. I will leave it to the Attorney-General to handle this.

MR STANHOPE: I am happy to take the question on notice, Mrs Cross, and to take some advice on it. I know this is a matter of significant moment to this community. I am more than happy to provide to members whatever information it is appropriate to provide, within the constraints of the negotiations that are currently part of this legal action.

Land development

MS GALLAGHER: My question is directed to the Minister for Planning, Mr Corbell. Minister, I note that the Housing Industry Association and the Master Builders Association have once again advertised their opposition to the government's land development initiative in the Canberra Times today. Can the minister inform the Assembly what representations he has received on the government's initiative?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Gallagher for the question. Indeed, Mr Speaker, I note again today that the Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry Association are continuing their campaign, through print advertisement, against the government's policy of public land development activity in the ACT, both by the government itself and through partnership with private sector developers.

I can confirm for members that a large number of individual builders, including many small builders, and indeed many individual members of the public, have approached me since the government announced the establishment of its policy to say that they support


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