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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 3137..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

to an issue around how to secure the ACT's water supply needs into the future. He did it in precisely those terms-that construction of a dam in the Naas Valley is probably the best cost-benefit option for the community. Probably the best! I think that sums it up. It is probably the best cost-benefit option for the people of the ACT-probably. Here we have policy that is actually the centre point of the Liberal Party's campaign for the coming election.

Mrs Dunne: I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. Could you enlighten the Assembly as to which of Mr Stanhope's responsibilities he is speaking on at the moment? I did not think that he was the minister responsible for the Liberal Party's platform.

MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order, Mrs Dunne. It is time wasting, perhaps.

MR STANHOPE: There we have it: the Liberal Party, in a pre-election advertising campaign, has indicated that the centre point of its pitch for government at the next election is the construction of a $150 million dam in the Naas Valley. You do not need any inquiries. You do not need to look at the options. You need to get out there and build the Naas dam on the basis that it will probably represent the best cost-benefit solution for the people of the ACT.

I assume that the Liberals have thought about it. It is probably the best cost-benefit option, of course, if one assumes that it will probably rain appropriately, if one assumes that there probably would be no environmental impediments to the construction of a dam in the Naas Valley, and if one assumes that there probably would be no issues around climate change, rainfall patterns and the fact that the dam probably would hold water and there is no need to do hydrological studies to determine whether the water would soak through the ground or not.

The land probably will hold the water and the engineering issues involved in the construction of the dam probably will be able to be overcome and there probably is a site for the dam that the engineers think is capable of actually holding water. As I say, it will probably rain and water probably will flow into the dam and there probably will be water for the future of the ACT and its needs.

Of course, there needs to be; because the other startling aspect of the dam, if we did construct it, is that Mr Smyth tells us that we could meet the needs of Goulburn, Cooma and Yass and the thing that we could do, essentially, is we could actually irrigate all those grapes we always talk about. Here we have the only politician in Australia who is talking about constructing a dam so that we can do more irrigating. Mr Smyth wants to build the Naas dam so that we can irrigate all those grapes we keep talking about.

One of the fundamentally interesting things about this proposal is the connection to the past, the throwback, like the decision that Mr Smyth took in government when he thought that you could probably rebuild Bruce Stadium for $12.7 million, that you could probably rebuild it without breaking the law, that it probably would not cost you $84 million and that it probably would not involve 14 separate reports by the Auditor-General disclosing the absolute incompetence of the decision-making process involved in deciding that you could probably do it, you could probably build it there, it would probably hold water, and you could probably resolve all the environmental issues.


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