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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1419..

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Infrastructure—proposed new convention centre

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.01): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes the:

(a) broad support for a new Convention Centre from the Canberra business community;

(b) Government's lack of commitment for a new Convention Centre—having spent more on light rail in one year than on a new Convention Centre over 10 years;

(c) Government's failure to align the need for a new Convention Centre with the Federal Government's infrastructure program and imperatives; and

(d) Government's failure to develop a comprehensive investment ready plan for this project;

(2) condemns the ACT Government's inability to adequately prepare for and win support from both the present Coalition and prior Labor Federal governments on strategic infrastructure to provide a soft-landing for our local economy; and

(3) calls on the Government to provide up to $10 million in the 2014-2015 ACT Budget to get the new Convention Centre project to shovel ready stage so that they can reapproach the Commonwealth for financial support.

The proposal for a new convention centre for the ACT has been on the agenda for some years, and for most of those years the ACT Labor government, while paying lip-service to the need for a new facility, have now been exposed for their failure to get the project shovel-ready. If we were ever to have a chance of getting funding from the federal government, which seems to be the stipulation that the Treasurer has for the project proceeding, that has been rebuffed by the government. I think that is unfortunate but perhaps it is understandable.

The community has offered broad support for the new convention centre, and in a way that I do not think we have ever seen from the business community in this city. The document The meeting place of Australia lists 54 different organisations that have said this is the number one business infrastructure priority for Canberra. Yet if we look at the record of the Gallagher-Barr government and the Stanhope-Gallagher government before that, it is a record of neglect on this issue.

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