Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 1995) . . Page.. 1577 ..
Recommendation 4.55 states:
The committee recommends that the government reassess past recommendations of Assembly committees that have scrutinised the Draft Capital Works Program and, in light of this report of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, formally advise the Assembly on their implementation.
The reason we went for that recommendation was that our committee felt that many of the things that we were saying were not new. The issue of ensuring that priority was given to certain projects, how that priority was given and how they fit into a long-term strategy has been raised by previous committees. Basically, we are still having the same problems.
One of the things, I think, that led to that first recommendation which I referred to, in which the committee effectively threatened to reassess whether we would endorse the capital works next year, was that the committee felt that previous committees of the Assembly, which had made very sensible suggestions, had simply been ignored. To make it so much easier for the bureaucrats who are working on this, at Appendix A the committee included all those previous recommendations so that there would be no discussion about what was a recommendation or what was not a recommendation.
The overall tenor of this report - and we use this word in the report - was that we were appalled. I can understand why it is that the Government responded very quickly. Having read through our report, I can understand that they, too, probably were appalled, and probably thought, “Yes, the committee has actually put its finger on something that had concerned us; but perhaps we had not given priority to it in terms of our time and our efforts”. But we are talking about $111m. We are talking about 10 per cent of the budget. We are talking about a considerable sum of money. There is no doubt that any of the areas that in other parts of government have been facing cuts or looking at being revamped would have appreciated all or part of that $111m.
Then there was a series of individual cases that concerned the committee. One significant one for me was the recommendation of the proposed expenditure on replacing the roof of the Canberra Theatre. We were told that $500,000 is going to be needed to replace the roof on the Canberra Theatre. I was surprised, as were other members of the committee, at that. After all, the Canberra Theatre has a copper roof. We certainly remember, for example, that when the New Zealand High Commission decided to go with a copper roof it explained to the people of Canberra that it was going for a copper roof because it would never need to be replaced. We know that that is one of the great advantages of copper. But here we have $500,000 proposed for a replacement of the copper roof.
Mr Berry: It is buried in the arts funding; it is described as arts funding.
MR MOORE: It is described as arts funding, as Mr Berry said; but he will have a chance in a minute. What happened was that, when we examined it more closely and began to ask questions about what was the problem, we were told that the roof was leaking. None of us would take any stance other than to say that, if the roof in a theatre