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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . .

Page.. 3364..

transport system to enable them to get around this city easily as the community grows into a much bigger city than we are today.

We look forward to the continuing debate with you all on this. Perhaps one day in times in the future we will even have converts on the Liberal side—we already know we have got some secret supporters, but some other converts to this great city-building project.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, will tracks be laid for light rail in Canberra in 2016 as promised?

MS GALLAGHER: Indeed I sought an assurance on this from the director of the project team this week. In fact I specifically asked a question about whether the project was continuing to track on the timetable that we had committed to and that has been outlined before, and the advice back to the government is that we remain on track for that timetable as has been outlined previously, which is for the project to commence in the 2016 calendar year.

Health—bush healing farm

MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, in 2007 the ACT government committed funding towards the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, also known as the bush healing farm, which has since run over budget, been scaled back in size and been delayed for over six years. How much in total has been spent on the project to date, minister, and when do you expect the centre to commence operation?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Wall for his interest in the project. This project has taken longer than we had hoped to get ready and to get to this stage, but I am very pleased, and I know that those supporters of the Ngunnawal bush healing farm who have been advocating for a service like this are very happy, to see that the project has been provided with the certainty it needs to get the building underway.

In terms of the building work, I understand the tenders for the head contractor are scheduled to be invited in November 2014. I believe it is about a two-year maximum construction time. So we are hoping that it will be operational in 2016—late 2015, 2016. In terms of the money that has been spent to date, there has been money, and I will update the Assembly on that. That has largely related to the purchase of the land and also the decontamination that has occurred on that site in relation to the sheep dip and other contaminants. So there has been money spent to date. I will check, Mr Wall, on that and provide an update to the Assembly.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, will the facility meet the current demand and expectations of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, given that this project is almost seven years late?

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