Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 May 2007) . . Page.. 787 ..
dollars of taxpayers’ money on a project that never had any prospect of getting up? That is the great scandal and that is the great waste of taxpayers’ money that we have had.
The latest figures would put the amount to date at around $4 million. I do not have the absolute up-to-date figures. I do not know whether you are still going to complete your planning studies for this busway that will never go ahead. Perhaps Mr Hargreaves can enlighten us on that. But it is scandalous that we have had around $4 million of taxpayers’ money spent on a project that never had any prospect of getting up. If there was even a reasonable prospect of its getting up, perhaps it is money that could have been spent, but everyone except Simon Corbell knew that this project was not a goer. We knew that a three-minute saving on a trip from Belconnen to Civic was not worth spending $115 million on.
Everyone knew that. Mr Hargreaves knew it. I do not know what went on in cabinet to allow the money to be expended, but it has been a complete waste of taxpayers’ money and it has come about through the public divisions that we have seen between the right and the left of the Labor Party. Obviously, in the end the right has prevailed. Thank God for that, but it is a pity that it could not have been killed from the outset, as the taxpayers of the ACT would have been saved $4 million.
Territory records legislation
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.02): First of all, I want to set the record straight. Mr Hargreaves did tell me that I was very welcome to ask his office for advice at any time. I know that I am very welcome to do so, and I frequently do. I must say that I usually get a very good response. My office put in a request to his office over a week ago for some information about territory records and got that information today. So it is of grave concern that Mr Hargreaves tries to misrepresent people who disagree with him.
That leads me to another matter. I respond to Mr Seselja by saying that I wanted to stand up today and say that it really concerned me to see the kinds of changes that were made to cabinet a couple of weeks ago with the dropping of Mr Corbell from planning. I do not know what goes on inside the Labor Party, but it seems to me—
Mr Hargreaves: And you never will.
DR FOSKEY: Of course not, and happily so. As Mr Corbell, a former Minister for Health, expressed what I feel was a legitimate concern, he was dropped from the planning portfolio. I do not know why it was from planning—he could have been dropped from any of the other portfolios—but it was done at a really crucial time in that planning is going through the most significant reform since self-government.
I have rung the office of Mr Barr, the current Minister for Planning, and I have not yet had answers to those questions because the people there do not have the expertise. The planning portfolio in the ACT is so complex that it could not be learned in the amount of time Mr Barr has had. I believe we all have an interest in good governance, no matter what party we belong to. Indeed, that is my interest. You may not agree