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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (29 May) . . Page.. 1089..

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice


MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, contractors have begun planting trees at the site of the arboretum, with several hundred trees having been planted. The ACT has had water restrictions in place since 2002, except for a brief period in 2005-06. How many trees for the arboretum have been ordered and paid for since the beginning of the project, and when were they ordered and paid for? Will you table this information by the end of the sitting period?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his interest in the arboretum. It is a very exciting project and a project that I am pleased the opposition continues to have close interest in. I will have to, as invited to by the Leader of the Opposition, take aspects of the question on notice. I acknowledge that I do not have the exact details or the final numbers, but I am more than happy to get those and to provide them to the Assembly, and I am sure I can do that today.

My recollection is that somewhere in the order of 6,000 trees have been ordered. They were ordered some significant time—two seasons—ago. They were ordered before last year's planting season and they were held over for a year. I will have to get the information for Mr Stefaniak, but it was two planting seasons ago, so I would imagine it was at the end of 2005. I imagine it was in late 2005, but I will confirm that.

Let me reiterate now, however, in the context of the drought, water restrictions and the prospect that the territory faces level 4 water restrictions, that to the extent that trees that have been planted have required watering the water has been sourced from the lower Molonglo water treatment plant. Non-potable grey water from the lower Molonglo has been utilised, to the extent that any water has been used, on those trees that have been planted to date.

Mrs Dunne: So you decided not to use an illegal bore?

MR STANHOPE: I stand by my answer: water from the lower Molonglo has been utilised in the planting of the trees. I do appreciate the interest in this most significant iconic project, a project that I believe, as I have iterated in this place a number of times, represents the most significant investment in tourism infrastructure for some time—indeed the most significant tourism infrastructure investment since the construction of the National Museum of Australia, in my estimation, potentially. The investment, in time, will return to the ACT, through tourism as well as a wonderful community facility or amenity, as much as some of the major investments, such as the investment in the national museum. Second only to that, of course, is this government's significant investment in the glassworks in the old powerhouse.

Opposition members interjecting—

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