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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (29 May) . . Page.. 1091..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Or are you interested in only 6,000 trees? Are you interested in the 6,000 or do you have an interest in the 41/2 million?

In the last five years 41/2 million trees have been planted, and we have a regime in relation to some of those different trees, depending on where they are planted. For instance, the Weston Creek arboretum, of which I am very proud—planted adjacent to the Cotter Road; between Cotter Road and Weston Creek—is a lovely little arboretum with a number of species and it has been maintained by the government as we struggle to keep them alive through this drought. They are one other grouping of plants—another arboretum; the Weston Creek arboretum—that we seek to keep alive with some nurturing. In the face of the drought, it is a difficult proposition.

Is anybody seriously suggesting that we should not have planted those trees as the buffer between the Cotter Road and Weston Creek? Of course they are not. These are significant plantings. There were 41/2 million trees planted in the last five years. At this stage we propose to complete the planting of 6,000 of that 41/2 million in the vicinity of Dairy Farmers Hill.

Hospitals—pay parking

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, on Friday, 25 May, you announced on ABC radio that pay parking at the ACT's two public hospitals would cease at 9 pm that evening. You also made an announcement about building a multistorey car park at the Canberra Hospital. Chief Minister, will you rule out reintroducing pay parking once this multistorey car park is open and operational?

MR STANHOPE: No, I will not rule it out. The government has not made a decision. The government consulted broadly with the community and received significant feedback in relation to pay parking at each of our hospitals. The government does not resile from the decision to impose pay parking. We acknowledge and accept that its implementation was flawed. The style and model of implementation did represent serious issues. The implementation was confronting. It caused some significant distress for some utilising our hospitals. In the light of the feedback received, acknowledging the distress and acknowledging the overwhelming opposition to pay as you enter rather than pay as you leave, the government took the decision to discontinue pay parking under the existing model at Canberra and Calvary hospitals.

I admit absolutely and openly that the implementation of this particular policy was flawed. It was not successful. There was widespread community opposition. The government has listened; the minister has listened; I have listened. And we have responded.

It is interesting that the most significant of the responses received focused on the method of payment, not on pay parking per se. The objection was overwhelmingly about the system that was applied. We accept that criticism, that commentary and that feedback. We have listened to it and we have responded.

In the context of decisions that we have taken, I have announced that we will invest $29 million in a multistorey car park on the Canberra Hospital campus—a significant investment in infrastructure for the hospital which will provide 560 parking spaces in


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