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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 1279..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

have been three PAs on this route, three separate environmental impact assessments, and everybody has had an opportunity to participate. For three environmental bodies to write to me, after the event, after construction has commenced, and cry that they had no opportunity or capacity to be involved, is just a little rich, particularly when I had put this matter to my department. I asked Environment ACT if these bodies ever consulted-and, surprise, surprise. So, it will be to the enduring embarrassment of Rosemary Purdy, Ian Fraser and Geoff Butler-people for whom I have had, up until today, enormous respect-that I can report that they were personally briefed in June 2002 by David Shorthouse and Maxine Cooper on every aspect of the environmental implications of the Gungahlin Drive extension. That was a personal, detailed briefing by Environment ACT, Maxine Cooper and David Shorthouse-the most knowledgeable people in the ACT government service in relation to this issue-on the Gungahlin Drive extension and its implications for O'Connor and Bruce ridges. And they did nothing. I have to say to Ian Fraser, Geoff Butler and Rosemary Purdy, "Don't come to me whingeing about the fact that you didn't get an opportunity to participate in this process when you were personally briefed and did nothing."

MS TUCKER: I take that to be a 'no'. You never actually asked for input. My supplementary question is: given the recent evidence of the presence of an extremely endangered plant species, Swainsona recta, the recent listing of the varied sittella and ongoing evidence of the potential danger to echidnas from this freeway, will you now take responsibility for diversity in the ACT and stop all work on the road and commission a full EIS, which is not the same, for your information, as a PA?

MR STANHOPE: This road is going ahead. The answer to your question is no.

State of the Environment report

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Environment, Mr Stanhope. Minister, the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Joe Baker, a very senior and highly respected scientist, was scheduled to release his State of the Environment report today. I understand that it would have been Dr Baker's last act as commissioner, as he is retiring tomorrow. The media launch was scheduled for 2.30-which was 25 minutes ago-in O'Malley. However, at the eleventh hour, the opposition was informed that the commissioner had cancelled his media launch.

Minister, have you nobbled the launch because you are planning to get rid of Dr Baker and have the report sanitised by his successor, or are you hoping to bury it completely until after the election?

MR STANHOPE: By jeez, that is an offensive question! It is almost as offensive as the letter I got from those three committees yesterday.

Mr Smyth: How dare people criticise the Chief Minister!

MR STANHOPE: It is not a question of criticising me. There are some pretty rich accusations levelled that are completely without foundation.

No, that is not the case at all. I think, as everyone understands, that Dr Baker is a most esteemed Australian. It has been a privilege to work with him. The ACT has been


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