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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1249..


MR QUINLAN (continuing):

But I will answer the question at the end of the day, by saying: yes, the government is taking action on the Convention Centre. We will make decisions that work and are for benefit of the ACT, and we will make them after due consideration. Remember that we are not talking peanuts here; we are talking very large amounts of money. I think the figure given simply to refurbish the current Convention Centre was in the vicinity of $40 million.

I think everybody is aware-certainly the Leader of the Opposition has been telling the world at large-that we have budgetary pressures. So it is fairly clear that, if we are to make decisions which concern at minimum $40 million, we ought to investigate every avenue to make sure that at the end of the day we will get value for our money.

A lot has been made of the Convention Centre, and I agree that, one way or another, we need to have a better primary convention centre. But I refer you to the Convention Bureau's annual report, which shows a full page of the various venues that are available for conventions. It is misleading for a debate to be based on the seemingly unstated assumption that we either have one convention centre or none. We have all sorts of facilities, and I commend the annual report of the Convention Bureau for your reading.

MRS BURKE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. In that case, Minister, would it be fair to say that, because of your financial mismanagement, you have not been able to commit to improving the Convention Centre earlier?

MR QUINLAN: No.

Bushfire inquiry

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, on 26 March, you issued a press release critical of the Minister for Territories for proposing a select committee of the House of Representatives to inquire into the January bushfires. In that press release, you said:

The process proposed by Mr Tuckey ... is clearly constructed to deliver a pre-determined and politically biased outcome, which will protect the interests of certain interest groups only.

Minister, as you can see, this is a fairly serious claim to make against a minister in another government. Will you explain what you meant by this? What is the predetermined and politically biased outcome to which you refer? What groups are having their interests protected in this inquiry?

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (3.31): The political interests are those of the Liberal Party, Mr Speaker. Probably nobody has yet forgotten Wilson Tuckey's introduction to the debate, a couple of days after the fire, around the cause of the fire in the ACT.

We all remember his sensitive entree into the debate about the Canberra fire on the Sunday or the Monday after it-19 or 20 January-as people were dealing with their


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