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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 8 Hansard (13 August) . .

Page.. 2458..

MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, given that Mr Hargreaves was forced to apologise for his comments about the Tuggeranong Community Council, will you now insist that Minister Burch also apologise to the community council?

MS GALLAGHER: Minister Burch has nothing to apologise for. As I said in my previous answer, she is a strong advocate for Tuggeranong. She is an important member of the government team, and she takes her responsibilities very seriously.

Civil contracting industry—work

MR COE: My question is for the Minister for Economic Development. Minister, the Opposition has been advised that the civil contracting industry in Canberra is struggling due to a lack of current and future work. We are advised that there is a perception in the industry that money that would once be going to civil contracting has been held up due to funds being redirected towards the light rail project. Would you please advise whether you have had concerns raised with you by civil contracting companies about the state of their industry? Further to this, what is the cause of their concerns?

MR BARR: I have had the opportunity to meet with representatives from this sector through their membership of the MBA and the HIA, and I know that there is very strong support for the government's decision to fast-track work in the suburb of Moncrieff. I have had no concerns raised in relation to the allegations that the member has raised and I can certainly confirm that no money has been taken from civil contracting and placed in light rail. That is simply a fanciful statement.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Minister, have you heard that this month several major Canberra-based contractors are laying off staff due to a lack of work and lack of certainty about future work, which they attribute to the fact that light rail is sucking up all the money?

MR BARR: I suspect that the member might look elsewhere for his concerns in relation to the lack of work for some in that sector. The ACT government, of course, has a capacity to provide some work for this sector but we are by no means the only source of work—nor should we be the only source of work—for this sector.

Let me repeat, for the benefit of the member opposite, that there is no money that has been taken away from civil contracting areas and placed into light rail. In fact, ultimately you would imagine there would be a significant amount of civil works in the pipeline associated with the range of projects that come with the series of decisions the government will be taking in relation to infrastructure, of which capital metro is but one part, in the coming years.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, what proportion of current civil contracting contracts is being undertaken by Canberra owned and operated companies?

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