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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 1993) . . Page.. 2518 ..


The Woden bus interchange for many years has been notorious as a problem area. The "Black Hole", as it is widely known, is an area where many members of the community, particularly Canberra's elderly people - we must acknowledge that a lot of elderly people depend on ACTION buses to get to and from the shops - are simply scared to be. Mr Cornwell is nodding vigorously. He knows the problems there. Many of his constituents no doubt have complained and are scared.

Mr Humphries: He is scared too.

MR CONNOLLY: Mr Humphries, you are quite right. That bus interchange design was really an example of the worst way of going about designing an urban environment. It almost was an example of designing in crime. We will be redeveloping that whole "Black Hole" area, lifting the profiles of the entire shelter area, removing a lot of the heavy concrete structure of the bus interchange to improve sight lines and to improve the general amenity.

We may not be able to perfectly replicate the Tuggeranong bus interchange, which is a good example of designing out crime, with very high ceilings, clear sight lines, a very safe environment; but we will significantly improve on the urban amenity of the Woden bus interchange. The major demolition work on the "Black Hole" will be commencing at the end of this month and it is hoped that by Christmas that entire bus interchange area will have been redeveloped to create a safe urban environment and one that we can all be proud of. This is another example, Madam Speaker, of the Government's ongoing attempts to create a safer Canberra.

Excise and Franchise Fees

MR WESTENDE: Madam Speaker, my question without notice is directed to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer advise what the expected outcome of the Capital Duplicators case is? Given that the franchise fees raised $45.5m for the ACT and some $2.8 billion for the States and Territories, what is the nature of the replacement taxes under consideration, and has this been factored into your budget? When will the report of the joint Treasurers working party be available?

MS FOLLETT: Madam Speaker, I thank Mr Westende for the question. The answer is that I cannot predict what the outcome of the case may be; nor could I, unless I were a judge of the High Court, and then I could probably answer only for myself. The fact is that there is not yet an outcome. At this point it is expected that there will be by the end of this year. The outcome could address itself only to the Capital Duplicators case and the question of excise on X-rated videos. But the outcome could also be far wider in its application and could address other taxes in the nature of excise - for example, petrol tax, alcohol tax and tobacco tax.

If that were the case, Madam Speaker, it would have an extremely large impact on this Territory if we were to lose those taxes. We would lose a large proportion of our revenue. The sum that comes to mind - I am speaking from memory - is some $80m or $90m. I take heart, Madam Speaker, from the commitment by the Commonwealth. If that worst case outcome occurs, the Commonwealth has said, they will compensate the States who are affected in that major way.


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