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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 4050..

Ayes 7

Noes 8

Mrs Dunne

Mr Seselja

Mr Barr

Mr Gentleman

Dr Foskey

Mr Smyth

Mr Berry

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Corbell

Ms MacDonald

Mr Pratt

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope

Question so resolved in the negative.

Standing orders—suspension

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (12.19): I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent notice No 1, Assembly business, relating to the proposed reference of the Tharwa Bridge to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, being called on forthwith.

Mr Speaker, I think it is very, very important that on the back of even more recent events there are very, very serious doubts surrounding the government's management of the Tharwa river crossing saga. I believe that we need to debate here today the management of that saga, the impact on the Tharwa community and the requirement to send this matter to the planning and environment committee. It is an important matter.

We now know that the government has very, very likely misled the ACT community on the veracity of the evidence available to them when they made decisions as long as 19 and 20 months ago around the fate of the old Tharwa bridge and the decision that they took in December 2006 to commence the concrete bridge at Tharwa. We now know that there was a broad range of engineering and logistical evidence which indicated that the old Tharwa bridge could have been restored possibly at less cost than the money allocated or assessed as needed for a new concrete bridge structure and, more importantly, in a fraction of the time that it is going to take to build the concrete bridge.

Mr Hargreaves: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The issue is being debated. We are supposed to be debating why we should suspend standing orders, not what is going on in Mr Pratt's mind.

MR SPEAKER: I think that is what Mr Pratt is trying to do.

MR PRATT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. There is a very serious question as to the way Minister Hargreaves in particular and the government in general have handled the affair. We believe it warrants a deep inquiry. I propose that there is a necessity for the planning and environment committee to inquire into all of the circumstances surrounding the decisions taken in relation to the commencement of a new concrete bridge project and all of the circumstances surrounding the decision taken not to restore the old bridge.

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