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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (15 September) . . Page.. 3949..

MR SESELJA (continuing):

cabinet formally of the cost blow-out to $363 million for the enlarged Cotter Dam.

Treasurer, prior to that cabinet presentation, were you aware of the actual or any potential cost blow-out for the enlarged Cotter Dam over and above the figure of $246 million which was made public in May? If so, when did you become aware?

MS GALLAGHER: The answer to the question is that I was aware that the costs were still being finalised from that last public figure of $246 million, but I did not have an exact figure until, I think, 24 August 2009, which was prior to cabinet being briefed. Both shareholders were provided with that information following an Actew board meeting, I think the day before.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, how often were you being briefed on this project and the costs and, if you were not being briefed regularly, did you or your office ask for updates?

MS GALLAGHER: We had been briefed. I guess it is whatever your definition of regular is. The shareholders received the minutes of the board's consideration of various matters. I had also been briefed by my department, Treasury, on their discussions with Actew. Indeed, I had met with Actew. Yes, I think I was being kept updated at regular intervals.

As to the final cost, though, the actual dollar figure, the $363 million, that was not confirmed by the Actew board until, I think, about 21 or 22 August. I will check that date. Certainly that final figure was made aware to me on 24 August. We were in regular discussion and contact and I was aware that Actew had instigated their own review of their cost structures. They had that independently evaluated and Treasury had certainly briefed me on that. I think I was kept briefed at regular intervals but the final cost, as you know, was made public pretty much as soon as the government was made aware of it.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Treasurer.

MR SMYTH: Supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Further supplementary, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Treasurer, as minister responsible for the Actew Corporation, what discussions did you have with the Minister for Planning in relation to his decision to call in the Cotter Dam enlargement development application? And if you had none, why?

MS GALLAGHER: No, I did not have any discussion with the Minister for Planning about his decision to call in the dam. I see that as a completely separate matter—that statutory process—that is within the Minister for Planning's portfolio responsibilities, and I did not see any need to have a discussion with him on it.

MR SMYTH: Supplementary, Mr Speaker.

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