Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 4 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 1540..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
of finalising the proposal that we have put, it has come from a range of different sources. It has come from advice from Treasury and Health, discussions within government and discussions with the board of Little Company of Mary Health Care, as would normally occur in a negotiation process like this.
The parties have met to try and reach a way forward where—shock, horror!—a government could invest $200 million in a public hospital. That is the big scandal here—that we are trying to invest $200 million in a new public hospital that delivers a
new private hospital to the people of Belconnen. That is the issue. The parties met with that issue on the table. I can say that the first meeting that we had, once the previous proposal was not to be proceeded with after Little Company of Mary Health Care had decided not to proceed, was about how do we deliver an outcome that delivers the outcome that is needed—which is a new public hospital for north Canberra and a new private hospital for north Canberra? That is where the discussion started, as it should have, and then the parties worked a way through that.
One proposal, which all parties agreed could be explored further, was the idea that we purchase the hospital and that they run it. It was not our preferred option. It was not the government's preferred option and it was not Little Company of Mary Health Care's preferred option, but once that option was off the table this was the one that was agreed to.
Mr Hanson: Why didn't you do that 19 months ago?
MS GALLAGHER: Because it was not the preferred option.
MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Chief Minister and is about the mosque that was intended for Nicholls. Chief Minister, I understand the government is committed to providing a direct land grant to the Canberra Muslim community so that they can build a mosque. Given the mosque is no longer planned to be built in Nicholls, how has the ACT government been working with the Canberra Muslim community to find another site, and what progress has been made?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. As Ms Bresnan says, it is the case that the government had worked very closely for an extended period of time with representatives of the north Canberra Muslim community to locate and facilitate the direct grant of land for that organisation in Nicholls. As members are aware, the proponents did decide, actually after a community consultation but at one level, distinct from that consultation, that the site did not meet what they anticipate to be their future needs. They indicated that to the government. The government then accepted their advice that they would prefer to seek a direct grant of land elsewhere that was perhaps larger and did not represent some of the parking problems that had been identified through consultation.
The Department of Land and Property Services most particularly, in consultation with the LDA and in close consultation with the north Canberra Muslim community, have initially identified a possible site in the Gungahlin town centre and I think there is a hope, at least, at this stage—I express it more strongly than a hope—as some scoping work is done, and there will of course be additional community consultations and