Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 May 1995) . . Page.. 674 ..
On the question of my Government's attitude to accommodating the Department of the Environment, Land and Planning, I do not believe that I have made a mistake, and I want to inform the Assembly as fully as I can on that matter. Mr Humphries tabled a briefing, so-called, addressed to me and to the Minister for Urban Services, dated 18 January 1996. I think, if members are interested in this matter, they might want to read that.
Mr Moore: 1996?
MS FOLLETT: It is dated 1996, I regret to say. That is, I am afraid, somewhat symbolic of the value of this briefing. But, Mr Speaker, I would recommend that members actually read the brief, because they will see that the matter addressed is predominantly that of the John Overall Offices. Over two of the 2½ pages of the brief relate to the occupational health and safety issues, the matter of negotiations with GIO and so on. Only late in the brief does it touch on the question of Gungahlin. I want to read out the latter part of this brief, Mr Speaker. It says:
Working party delegates representing DELP staff have agreed to our proposals which is to be put to a mass meeting of staff for endorsement on Monday. We propose to present options for consideration -
this is for the accommodation of DELP -
and decision to the new government in March 1995.
So, there was no indication to me that there was any decision on this matter imminent. Mr Speaker, if members want to read through this document, they will also see that it makes absolutely no mention whatsoever of any intention to advertise for expressions of interest for the accommodation of DELP, although that advertisement appeared in the Canberra Times some 10 days later, on 28 January 1985, as it turns out. Mr Speaker, as far as I am aware, nobody in the Government at the time was advised of that intention, and I will advise the Assembly that I did not see the advertisement. I have no way of proving that, except to tell you that I did not see it and to tell you that the brief, so-called, to me on the matter did not mention it.
I might point out, Mr Speaker, that the advertisement appeared in the commercial properties section of the Saturday Canberra Times. Members probably could take my word for it that that is not a section of the Canberra Times that I often scrutinise very closely. In fact, I have often expressed the view that the Canberra Times should adopt the practice of many other Saturday papers in allowing you to buy the news portion only, because all of the rest of it goes straight to the recycler. So, Mr Speaker, I was unaware of that advertisement. I was not advised of it. I would like to refer again to the final part of this brief, which says:
Gungahlin is unlikely to be an option for DELP offices as was being studied in association with a John Overall Offices lease ... However, we will continue to plan an ACT Government presence in the Gungahlin Town Centre.