Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3599..
Opposition members: Ha, ha!
MR HARGREAVES: Those opposite laugh. I drive up there quite regularly, and it is a fantastic run. What happens is: it is under budget and on time; so what can we do? We can duplicate Caswell Drive. We have made provision, in fact, for a long project for the duplication. These guys reckon they can do it in two years.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Hargreaves, come back to the subject matter of the question or sit down.
MR HARGREAVES: I am, Mr Speaker. These people over here are asking why is it that we have so much in unfinished capital works. The reason for that is that it takes quite a number of years to deliver these things—millions upon million of dollars. But of course these guys do not know basic accounting 101; they would not have a clue.
Mrs Burke: Oh!
MR HARGREAVES: We hear this "oh", the baying of the cow of Mrs Burke—Jacqui with a "B", the B-grade team having another crack. Let us see: work out what accounting 101 is and you would know that big projects take a long time to deliver.
What we have in our particular capital works program is a very large series of projects, taking many years to deliver. We are in a case where there is a skills shortage. If these guys could come up with just one capital works project they have advanced over the last four years, I will be very surprised.
MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question?
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what action have you taken to ensure that your record of spending your capital works budget improves?
MR HARGREAVES: I will give as an example the airport road project. We identified that we had a really big problem; that was not too hard to identify as there was a big clog on the highway. So what did we do? Instead of sticking our heads in the sand and saying, "Oh, it's the government's problem,"we got together a roundtable of all the stakeholders and came up with a shared solution regarding who could afford it and who could not. We struck a deal with the commonwealth and we identified the thing properly.
We did not do what they did, Mr Speaker, with the GDE, and say that it could be done for $32 million. We did not make promises to the electorate that we could not keep. We actually went out there with real time lines. When I became minister for urban services—
Mr Pratt: And really stuffed it up.
MR HARGREAVES: This is really difficult, Mr Speaker; you know how hard it is for me. When I inherited the Gungahlin Drive project, as minister for urban services, I