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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 750..


MRS BURKE: I ask a supplementary question. Why didn't the Minister's office advice her of the fax from the department before she delivered her ministerial statement, given that in her words it was immediately apparent that the government's response did not, and could not, address all the serious issues because of the information in the fax. If they could not do that, did they advise you at any time during the sitting day?

MS GALLAGHER: It was brought to my attention by my senior adviser after I had tabled the government's response.

Mrs Dunne: But during the sitting day?

MS GALLAGHER: During that sitting day. Yes, it was, because I had a conversation with the Chief Minister, I think in the anteroom, from memory. We had a discussion about what action needed to follow immediately following the advice of this. I guess you get a whole range of things coming in to offices all the time. I got a lot of questions about this. I got questions, why didn't the department tell me this themselves, as we were formulating the government's response? Why did they not tell me that they met the Community Advocate the day before I tabled the response, to put in train measures to brief me on this? While they were writing the brief, which I presume was not on the 11th, why did they not tell me then that they were about to advise me? There are a lot of questions about the timing of the arrival of that information. For it to arrive in my office on a sitting day and to be dealt with that same day, I presume around 5 o'clock when I had the discussion with the Chief Minister, is not a lengthy turnaround on any material coming into my office. It did not have "urgent"stamped on it. It was a fax. Nobody had rung to say, "We are about to send you some very important information which you need to read before you table the government's response."They are all questions that are currently being examined by the Commissioner for Public Administration. Again, as I said yesterday, Mrs Burke can keep going around and trying to prove that I have not told the truth at any stage in this, and she will simply be wrong. I have done everything I can to give her, and everyone in this place, the information about what occurred. There are questions going back to 1996 about this.

MRS BURKE: That's a furphy.

MS GALLAGHER: No, it is not a furphy. There are questions going back to 1996 about that. You can keep going around and we will keep fixing child protection, we will keep doing the work that needs to be done, and you can trawl through and try to accuse me of lying. The fact is at no stage have I lied about this.

Asbestos facility

MR PRATT: My question, which is to the Minister for Urban Services, relates to the handling of asbestos at the west Belconnen site. Minister, I understand that there is a pit at this site that is used for the disposal and storage of asbestos. I also understand that this pit requires maintenance to retain its functionality, including the pumping out of water that has collected in it. It has just been brought to my attention that there are some serious concerns about the way in which this site is monitored and managed and about the equipment, including protective clothing, provided to people working at this site.


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