Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 12 February 2008) . . Page.. 50 ..
The advice in 2006 on which the government and any thinking person in the community relied was a detailed report on the future water needs of Canberra and district facilitated by Actew but which relied exclusively on the best expertise and scientific advice available in Australia. That, of course, was just irrelevant to the Liberal Party. You don’t take any notice of the best scientific advice and the best brains and the best modelling available in Australia.
Mr Smyth: We did. We spoke to the best engineers.
MR STANHOPE: You do what the Liberal Party did at the time of the last election—you promise, the day after the election, to construct a dam in the Tennant. All the scientific reports and analysis and hydrology on the Tennant catchment suggest it is probably the worst site in the ACT for a dam.
Mr Smyth: Why was it one of your options?
MR STANHOPE: It is shallow; it is poor performing; it would probably never fill.
Mr Smyth: So why was it an option?
MR STANHOPE: Even the latest report, which has, of course, revised the scientific understanding and forced a significant change to the modelling on which the earlier report was based, still concludes that, whilst you would leave the Tennent on your suite of locations for possible future expansion of water storage, it is a very poor option. But it is the option that the Liberal Party, in its blindness, would have pursued. It is the one option that we thought then and which, through scientific and hydrological assessment, has been revealed as the catchment that you would not utilise is where the Liberal Party would have built their dam—at the Tennent. The Tennent or die! “We won’t consider anything else. We won’t take into account the scientific advice or knowledge or understanding. We will build a dam at the Tennent”, which would never probably have filled.
Mr Smyth: No dam before 2020.
MR STANHOPE: The latest reports reveal it to be probably the worst possible site. We relied on the scientific advice, the best advice available to the government of the day, and we made decisions on the basis of that advice. (Time expired.)
MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?
MRS DUNNE: Minister, why did it take you six years to recant on your “no dam ever” policy?
MR STANHOPE: I have just explained the basis of the comments that I made in 2006 and the nature of the report on which those decisions were made. It was a report—
Mr Seselja: A bit embarrassing.
MR STANHOPE: I am not a bit embarrassed. It actually puts me in mind of—