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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3621..


MR BARR (continuing):

dragway on that site is something that the government would consider in conjunction with the New South Wales government and we are pursuing some discussions around those possibilities. That is not to say that I am giving a commitment today that the government would invest the $8 million that has been set aside towards that facility, but I do believe that it is worth investigating that. Given the proximity and the availability of that site to the ACT, a regional solution is one that should be considered and I am happy to have those options pursued.

Of course these negotiations are in the early stages but we are certainly prepared to consider that as an option. But of course the requirements on that site would come under the New South Wales planning regime and I believe would require some contribution from the New South Wales government. So at this very early stage I can indeed inform the Assembly that we are considering that as an option, just as we have advised and written to the commonwealth government seeking their advice on surplus defence land in a range of locations around the territory.

The commonwealth government have not been particularly cooperative. However, that may all change on the weekend. We do look forward to the election of a Rudd Labor government and the opportunity for a constructive dialogue with them, but we will of course consider all options when it comes to the delivery of a dragway, be it within the borders of the ACT or within close proximity.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question for Mr Barr then, given that he has made—

Mr Stanhope: To the responsible minister!

MR STEFANIAK: No. If he has made those comments, you obviously do not have a clue anymore, Chief Minister—not that you ever did. Can you now advise us of the exact status of the proposed ACT dragway? When will the funds that have been committed to be spent on that dragway actually be spent? Can you advise whether—if ever—that project will be completed under your government?

MR BARR: As I indicated in my previous answer and numerous other responses to questions along those lines, once a suitable site is identified that meets all of the environmental and noise protection policies in place, the government has set aside an amount of money for the provision of a dragway. It may well be that it is not possible to find a site within the borders of the territory. However, we are actively exploring options outside the territory such as Wakefield Park or the land adjacent to that—within close proximity to the territory.

But we will not compromise on environmental or other aspects of assessment in order to deliver the project. It must stack up and meet those criteria. As I indicated in my previous answer, if a site were identified and found within New South Wales it would have to meet all of the requirements under any relevant New South Wales legislation.

Taxation

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, in a media release of 15 November, you dismissed the impact of the utilities tax on Canberra residents, saying:


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