Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 8 Hansard (6 August) . . Page.. 2945..
MR PRATT: Chief Minister, how many months will this process delay the project, and how many months in total has your government added to the process by resolutely refusing to commission an EIS earlier?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Pratt for the question. Mr Speaker, I am not the Minister for Planning. I do not have that information available to me. I am sorry, I cannot answer the question.
Gungahlin Drive extension
MR STEFANIAK: My question is also to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, why did you claim that your 2008 budget allows the GDE project to be completed in the next five years when Roads ACT documents tabled by your transport minister yesterday show that the bulk of GDE duplication, covering all works from Belconnen Way to Barton Highway, will not be built until between five and 10 years away?
MR STANHOPE: The government has consistently said in relation to this that it was in receipt of advice that in five years time the GDE would most certainly need to be duplicated to avoid significant delays. The announcement that I made recently was that this government would commit to delivering it in four years. The advice was first prepared by Roads ACT in relation to the GDE some months ago. By the time we get through this election, the next four years will end in the context of an election. Having regard to the basis for the undertaking I have made on the GDE—namely, that it was made in the context of an electoral cycle—we are looking at October 2012.
What the government has committed to is that it will deliver duplication of the GDE by October 2012. That is the basis of the undertaking we have made. With respect to the first advice, I would have to check, of course, but it is now some months old, so we are talking about 41/2 years since that initial advice was made that this was a road that could be reasonably expected to have been delivered within five years, and we are delivering it within five years. The advice is that this is a road that can quite reasonably be expected to be delivered by any government to the people of Canberra within five years, and we are delivering it within five years. In fact, it will be delivered within 41/2 years of when I first became aware of that position in relation to the GDE.
In the context of the absolutely foolish proposition that has just been put by the shadow Treasurer, in asking why wasn't the duplication of the GDE represented in the budget papers, it was not a budget decision. It was not in the budget papers and it does not appear in the bottom line, Mr Smyth, because it was not a project that was incorporated or included within the budget. It is a project—
Mr Barr: Still got the L plates on!
MR STANHOPE: That is right. It is quite remarkable. The question that was asked by Mr Smyth was: why is there no funding in the budget for the GDE? The GDE was not a budget project. It is not funded in the budget, Mr Smyth. I have just made the commitment. The budget is over. The budget was put together last April. Last April,