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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 1278..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

them in our last budget. The sum of $300,000 went into that. Mr Smyth, in comparison, is proposing only $100,000. Does that mean that he would cut the number of scholarships? Is that part of his policy? Once again, the policy is policy on the run. There is nothing worse in such a delicate and serious area as mental health than to grandstand on policy initiatives that you cannot pay for. These are polices you cannot pay for. You have blown the budget and it is nothing but deception to say to the Canberra community that you are going to fix mental health when you have not put in the money to back your actions.

Gungahlin Drive extension

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Minister for Environment and is in regards to the environmental impact analysis of the proposed Gungahlin Drive extension. Can the minister tell the Assembly, firstly, how the Flora and Fauna Committee, the Natural Resources Management Committee and the scientists who are currently using parts of the proposed GDE route for their internationally recognised research were asked to contribute to the environmental impact assessment of this freeway; and, secondly, how have they been consulted on those issues since the final decision to proceed with the road on its eastern alignment was made? If they were asked to consult, can the minister table their response by close of business today?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Tucker for the question. This is an issue that I have been grappling with today. Just yesterday, surprise, surprise, I received a letter-and I have a feeling that Ms Tucker received a copy of the same letter-from those two organisations suggesting that they were concerned that they had had no opportunity to be involved in consultation over the Gungahlin Drive extension. I find that claim by those committees to be absolutely staggering. This debate has been alive for seven years. It is a debate that everybody in the Canberra community knows about; it is a debate in which every organisation in Canberra with an interest, or who could have been bothered, had an opportunity to become involved. If the Flora and Fauna Committee and the Natural Resources Committee and, indeed, the interim Namadgi Board-if you have the same letter that I have-wanted to make representations or submissions or to be involved in the debate around the development and construction of the Gungahlin Drive extension they had every opportunity, just as did every other Canberran.

I find it a bit rich and extremely disappointing that, in the week after construction of the Gungahlin Drive extension was scheduled to commence and, indeed, did commence, three consulting bodies, established by the government, decide to make representations to me about their non-involvement in the decision making or consultation in relation to the Gungahlin Drive extension. There was a preliminary assessment process initiated by the previous government in 1997. I cannot believe that those organisations or those individuals did not have an opportunity to participate in the preliminary assessment process arranged by the previous government. Since then, my government has been involved in two preliminary assessment processes in relation to the Gungahlin Drive extension.

Let's just deal with the semantics here. The so-called environment impact assessment is, under our system, incorporated within the preliminary assessment. That is what it is: it is an environmental impact assessment under another name. We are playing games here with terminology, and so are these organisations. They had every opportunity. There


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