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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 1722..


Footpaths

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, as you would be aware, I have received, and subsequently referred to you with a request for action, numerous requests for the installation of footpaths in older, established suburbs of Canberra like Campbell. Although you have considered and replied to my representations, many streets in these suburbs are still without footpaths. How can the government justify prioritising a $1 million iconic gateway over infrastructure of this nature in the ACT's established suburbs?

MR HARGREAVES: There are two parts to that question. I can certainly answer one of them. The government has a priority program for the provision of footpaths. It does technical investigations in areas for which we have received requests to have footpaths installed. We look at them; then we look at the ongoing budget provided to do that.

It is interesting that Mr Mulcahy does not say that it was this government that actually built those suburbs without the footpath in them. I have a funny feeling that that was a bit before the Stanhope government came to power. However, we have a program of footpath maintenance and all that sort of thing. We also look at requests to put in footpaths where they have not been provided before and where they can be justified on a priority basis. With the areas that Mr Mulcahy has indicated to me so far—unless I am very badly mistaken, and I do not think so—we have had those areas checked out and where they are justified in the view of our traffic engineers we have said, "Okay, but they will have to go on the list."They are on the list, and they will get done when eventually the funds become available.

What Mr Mulcahy has done, however, is draw an interesting parallel: why don't you take money for this project and put it into that project? All that really does is indicate to me that Mr Mulcahy, as the shadow Treasury spokesman, is prepared to hypothecate certain funds for certain issues. He is indicating his priorities to us. He is saying that his priority is to take money from here and put it over there. He does not acknowledge the fact that if one project does not go ahead the money goes into consolidated revenue and then is used on the priorities of the government of the day.

You could easily ask, "Why don't you use that money for a teacher or a nurse?"You could easily ask that question. That would be just as silly as the first one. There is no relationship. What we are seeing from the shadow minister for the arts, I believe—are you still that?

Mr Mulcahy: Yes, I've still got that one.

MR HARGREAVES: Good. What he is doing is denigrating the provision of public art in this town. What he is saying is: "Let's not go down to have some iconic public art; let's just forget it. Let's forget it."The arts spokesman is saying, "Chief Minister, you have an intention to provide a piece of iconic public art but the Liberal Party does not agree with that."They would rather have nothing. They would rather have nothing. Where were the congratulations from those opposite with the Chief Minister's per cent for public art program? Where were they? One is tempted to think that perhaps it was spray-painted by Mr Pratt on a graffiti wall somewhere. No? I cannot find it.


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