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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2496..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

test it. That is quite a burdensome and difficult task, which in general has not been seen as something that should be done as part of the normal conveyancing process, although it would clearly need to be dealt with whenever someone seeks to renovate their home, either by themselves or by using a builder.

The issue is a complex one. The Health Protection Service advises people on handling asbestos to ensure that it is handled only by people who are qualified to do so. I am very happy to make the cross-government response available to Ms Tucker when I have spoken to my colleagues and have that information together.

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. For your consideration, Minister, could it be an alert system particularly for houses that were built before 1983? I understand that they are the risk.

MR CORBELL: A balance has to be struck here. Many people react adversely to the notion of even being aware that there is asbestos in their home, even if it is entirely safe because of the state it is in. As long as it is not disturbed by sawing, drilling or cutting, it remains inert and safe. It is fair to say that many dwellings built over the past 20 to 30 years have some asbestos product in them, particularly in the bathrooms, where asbestos sheeting was used as a waterproofing feature and for laying down tiles and things like that. The issue is not as straightforward as you suggest, Ms Tucker, but I am happy to provide further information to you and to continue the discussion on that basis.

Civic library development

MR CORNWELL: Mr Speaker, my question, which is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Wood, concerns the $14 million Civic library development. Minister, on Tuesday 1 June this year you commented during the 2CC morning radio news that the reason the project had been delayed for the last two years, thus meaning that it would cost more than originally budgeted, was the wait for planning approval from the National Capital Authority.

However, in the 2003-04 budget-last year's budget-there is a footnote at page 434 of budget paper 4 regarding this library link, which states, "In prior years $1.1 million has been spent in order to finalise a design that has received approval from the National Capital Authority."Can you explain the discrepancy? On the one hand you are saying that it has been held up and the budget is overrun because you did not have National Capital Authority approval and yet, as I say, in the 2003-04 budget you state that it had received approval.

MR WOOD: I do not know that there is any discrepancy at all. What period of time are we talking about here? This first came to notice when Mr Smyth went across the square and announced that there would be a library and an extension to the link. I am not sure even what year that was. It would probably be the year 2000-perhaps early 2001. I am not sure of the exact date when it was first raised.

Designs were prepared and submitted. That is when the National Capital Authority said, "Uh-uh, you can't do that."So it was back to the drawing board. That is certainly what I had in mind when I was answering that radio question, or whatever it was. That held up matters by a year or more. I cannot be too specific about the precise time but it certainly


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