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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1725..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

This legislation is important. If this legislation or these amendments do not pass in one form or another, it is inevitable that the construction on Gungahlin Drive will be delayed-I think probably until the end of June at the earliest. This is important legislation and these are important amendments. I have heard what members say. The government is prepared to compromise. We have introduced amendments. We do not believe they are ideal but in the interest of compromise we will proceed with those amendments.

I understand it is the wish of members to continue this debate on Thursday and finalise it. The government is prepared to compromise on appropriate amendments. I have to say to members, however, how vital I think the passage of these amendments is to our capacity to build the Gungahlin Drive extension.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clause 1.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Cross ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Sitting suspended from 12.14 to 2.30 pm.

Bushfires-coronial inquest

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a short statement in relation to the chronology of events in the lead up to the bushfires of 18 January 2003 to clarify answers I have given to the Assembly on this matter.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: In answers to questions put to me in the Assembly by members I advised that I did not have contact with a member of the Emergency Services Bureau or any other senior government officer on the morning of Saturday, 18 January 2003.

In my supplementary statement to the coronial inquest of 12 March 2004, I stated:

I have no memory of any specific or direct contact of me by any person about the fire between the time of the cabinet briefing on the morning of 16 January and the call from Mr Keady at lunchtime on 18 January.

While this statement remains accurate in that I have no memory of any such contact, on Monday, 3 May 2004-that is, last evening-my attention was drawn by a member of my office to the fact that the telephone records of the then Executive Director of the Emergency Services Bureau, Mr Mike Castle, indicate that he placed a call to me at 7.14 pm on the evening of 17 January 2003. This call was diverted to my message bank;

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