Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 2574..
Mr Seselja: You won't even support consultation on a hospital.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Minister has the floor.
MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. At one level what you say is quite right, Ms Le Couteur: the ACT government had been hopeful that our bid to Infrastructure Australia for funding to complete the connection between the Federal and Monaro highways through the Majura parkway would have been accepted or successful. Indeed, it was accepted. It has been recognised by Infrastructure Australia as one of the 11 high priority infrastructure projects within Australia. Nine of the 11 have been funded; two have not. We therefore remain hopeful that the Majura parkway or the connection of those two highways will in time, and hopefully in a short time, attract funding from the commonwealth.
We believe it is important that we continue the design and development approval process for a potential Majura parkway. At this stage we do accept, and of course it is reflected in the documentation that has been released for consultation, that there are some significant environmental and heritage issues that do need to be considered as part of the assessment. In the context of that, there have been discussions in the development of the plan with ACT Heritage, with Parks, Conservation and Lands and with the commissioner for the environment and sustainability. We have also had some consultations with Canberra Airport.
It is a major road. The road will be in the order of 10 kilometres and will cost somewhere in the order of $250 million in 2009 costs. Importantly, it does need to be understood in relation to time lines for the design and development approval of the road that $30 million has already been allocated by the commonwealth through the strategic regional road network program for stage 1, which essentially crosses the Molonglo and Duntroon and enters the mouth of the Majura valley. We have begun the process for approval for that particular stage of the Majura parkway—namely, the initial and important one.
It is the need for us to design and complete that $30 million entrée into the Majura valley that is the reason to finalise design flows. At this stage, we need to make decisions in relation to stage 1, the $30 million first stage at Majura parkway. Work on that is proceeding now.
I understand the thrust of the point that you make—if we are not contemplating the construction of the Majura Parkway immediately, in the very near future, why can't we extend out? I think a response to that is this: what is the case for suggesting that we need to extend the normal statutory time frames in relation to consultation or approval arrangements in relation to an EIS?
What is it about this particular project that suggests that the statutory requirements in relation to any major project attracting the need for detailed environmental assessment, that demands that the time frame—I have received no representation as the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services except your question, which is not necessarily a