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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (29 May) . . Page.. 1104..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

what is a very viable industry. However, we still see delays in waiting times for people being picked up; we still see incredibly long queues at the airport, at the cinemas and at the restaurants around town.

We still see people complaining about the service in terms of the booking systems. Let me signal very clearly that we believe that our initiatives around the taxi and hire car reforms since 2006 have produced the goods but maybe it is not over yet; maybe we need to go another couple of steps in the deregulation of this industry. If those in the industry lift their game, we will not have to do anything, but if they do not lift their game there may very well be more taxi plates on offer.

Budget—estimates 2007-2008

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, as you would be aware, it is traditional for the Treasurer to appear early in the estimates process to explain the context of the budget. Last week on ABC radio you denied that you were unavailable for the first week of estimates due to an overseas trip, as claimed by Mr Smyth. You said, "This is his story this time that I will be travelling overseas."

However, the estimates committee secretariat advised its members in an email:

While it would be appropriate to have the chief minister start the proceedings unfortunately it is not possible this year. The committee office began negotiating the draft timetable in February and was advised, at that time, that the chief minister would not be available during the first week of estimates hearings due to an overseas trip that had been planned for some time.

Treasurer, what advice did your office provide about your availability for estimates and when did your office provide this advice?

MR STANHOPE: I think that advice was provided in February, as just detailed in the email, but the advice is no longer correct.

MR SESELJA: I ask a supplementary question. Treasurer, will you now make yourself available to appear before the estimates committee early in the first week, given that you have advised now that you will be in Canberra during that week?

MR STANHOPE: I did not say I would be in Canberra that week. The answer is no.

Arboretum

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Chief Minister and minister for water, environment, climate change, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all. The ACT is in the middle of the worst drought for at least 100 years, at which time you made a decision to establish an arboretum and have now gone ahead, against advice, with planting some of the plants that you have bought. Today, Chief Minister, you announced that you were using water from the lower Molonglo water quality control plant to water those plants and that you were not going to proceed with a bore which would have been in contravention of the 2005 bore moratorium.


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