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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (31 May) . . Page.. 1275..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

This is the most appalling stunt. It brings the department of education, the public education system and this particular school into a situation of unnecessary scandal and conflict. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Mrs Dunne deserves to be censured—as much for her hypocrisy as for anything else—in daring, in light of her behaviour on Tuesday, to suggest, with puffed up umbrage, "How dare the minister mislead the Assembly."(Time expired.)

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.42): I would like to speak to the Chief Minister's amendment and dwell on the issue that he raises in relation to the question that I asked the other day. To set the context, Mr Stefaniak had already asked a question and Mr Stanhope had said that the water for watering the arboretum would be coming from the lower Molonglo water quality control plant. I said:

.. you announced that you were using water from the lower Molonglo water quality control plant to water those plants ...

And I said:

... and that you were not going to proceed with a bore ...

Because of the juxtaposition of those words, the inference could be that I implied that the Chief Minister announced that he was not going to use the bore. That is a reasonable inference to draw. Reflecting upon what is written here, I think the Chief Minister is right to take umbrage at that possible interpretation. It certainly was not my intention to imply that the Chief Minister had announced that he was not going to use a bore. To the extent that that could be misinterpreted, I withdraw, and I would like to correct the record. What I should have more correctly said was "By inference, you are not going to use the bore"—not that he announced it.

But it was quite clear, Mr Speaker, over a number of months, that the minister had formed the intention of using the bore. For instance, in the Canberra Times of 18 December, an article by Graham Downie headed called "Drought hits $6m trees project"says:

A minimum of 1300 kilolitres of water a year would be needed to irrigate the arboretum, with the Government issuing an official bore water licence for the site.

The next day, the Canberra Times said, in another article, headed "Arboretum tree planting delayed", that a spokesman for the Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, confirmed an official bore water licence had been issued for the arboretum. This was an issue that Mr Mulcahy raised as well. The issue had been raised that there may be a bore licence issued. We were concerned that, because there had been a moratorium in relation to bores in effect since August 2005, there would be some problem with the legality of issuing a bore licence.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (11.45): In light of Mrs Dunne's withdrawal of the imputation, I seek leave to withdraw my amendment.


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