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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 4142..


MR QUINLAN (continuing):

there are a number of parties involved in this. There is the hotel group that holds the lease; there is the government, of course; there are the developers; and there is the casino.

We have had some meetings. I have even been to Singapore to meet with the hotel group in the hope of making a presentation about the prospects of a decent precinct there, if we can get the whole deal going. We are, of course, getting a fair amount of pressure. It has become some sort of cause celebre-it is a must have; and it must happen tomorrow.

Let me tell you the latest. We are having negotiations, but the latest offer for participation in the redevelopment from the hotel is-remember we have to give them the money to do it; it is their leasehold, "Give us more than $40 million." I do not know whether I am at liberty to disclose the sum but it is more than $40 million. "We will close it down for 70 weeks and it will all be all right after that." We thought-and so did the people at the business council today, "That's not a good deal. So maybe, Mr Quinlan, we appreciate that you do need to continue to deal."

The answer to the favourite question, "When will you get it done?" is the same question as, "How long is a piece of string?" I can do it tomorrow. I can walk out and give our $40 million to the IHG and say, "There you go; knock yourselves out." Would you like that? It would be very irresponsible, but I would say, "Oh look, I'm doing something." What we need to do is get a decent result for the taxpayer of the ACT.

Of course, last week I said to the industry, "Why don't you stump up?" We got a number of directly interested parties who would be immediate beneficiaries who are prepared, as far as I can measure, to contribute zero but would certainly like to reap the benefits. We have heard some numbers. Mr Smyth put out a press release that spoke of a $1.7 billion loss. Do the sums, Mr Smyth. You will find that that is something like $4 million every week-52 weeks of the year, 12 months of the year, for 10 years.

Mr Smyth: Haven't you read the report?

MR QUINLAN: That report is nonsense.

Mr Smyth: Oh, the report is nonsense!

MR QUINLAN: Do you believe that this community is going to reap $4 million every week for 10 years? You are with the pixies!

Mr Smyth: Why not? If you had an interest in it, you could do it.

MR QUINLAN: We have had ACIL Tasman measure that and work out the various scenarios of a net present value. The net present value calculations-I seek an extension, if that is possible.

MR SPEAKER: No. The member's time has expired.

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Would the minister like to elaborate on why he is leaving the convention industry to wither on the vine?


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