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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (2 March) . . Page.. 467..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

to discuss the possibility of a land swap for that site. The agent undertook to pass that advice to the leaseholders. The leaseholders did not make any communication back to the agent, to me or to my office. It was pretty clear from that response that the leaseholders intended to pursue development of that site. I am happy to make available to members any relevant document that I have.

MS TUCKER: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Following up on the nature of that communication and the detail that was in the proposal you were making, could you table any documents relating to the costing of the land swap or other details of the proposal that you were making to the owner of the land?

MR CORBELL: These discussions did not get past first base. The government indicated to the leaseholders that it wished to discuss the possibility of the land swap and wanted to know whether or not the leaseholders themselves were interested in such a proposal. As there was no indication from the leaseholders that they were interested in such a proposal, the government did not pursue the matter further or go to the stage that Ms Tucker requests of me of investigating financial feasibility or alternative sites. We simply indicated, as a first starting point, to the leaseholders that we wished to discuss the possibility of a land swap. Were the leaseholders interested in pursuing such discussions in principle? They indicated through their lack of reply that they were not.

Bushfires-declaration of a state of emergency

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Chief Minister. On 19 August 2003 I asked you in a supplementary question whether the cabinet had made any decisions on 16 January 2003, when it was briefed that Canberra faced a one in 20-year bushfire with one in 40-year extreme weather forecasts and that urban areas were under threat. You replied:

The cabinet did not, Mr Speaker.

In fact, the cabinet minutes show that the cabinet decided a number of things, including noting the procedures for declaring a state of emergency on the presumption that you or the cabinet as a whole may have to consider declaring a state of emergency over the coming days. Do you stand by your answer to me that you gave in this place on 19 August 2003?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I am more than happy to look at the Hansard in relation to that. The cabinet certainly made no decisions in relation to the management of the fire. As Mr Stefaniak indicates, the cabinet minute of the briefing notes a number of things. It does note that it may be necessary for the cabinet to reconvene. It does note that there was a discussion about a state of emergency. I think it does note that there was a discussion about the costs of the fire to date. I think it does note something else.

But certainly I stand by the answer to the extent that I obviously understood at the time. As I say, I will go back to the Hansard. The cabinet made no decisions in relation to, as I might call it, operational aspects of the fire. The cabinet noted the steps that the Emergency Services Bureau was taking in relation to the fighting of a fire, and it noted that there were a range of possibilities and issues around the fire that arose out of the fact that the matter had come before the cabinet as a briefing.

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