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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2010) . . Page.. 11 ..

Leave granted.

MRS DUNNE: Scrutiny report 18 contains the committee’s comments on 10 bills, three pieces of subordinate legislation and four government responses. The report was circulated to members when the Assembly was not sitting. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Public Accounts—Standing Committee

Report 6

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (10.32): I present the following report:

Public Accounts—Standing Committee—Report 6—Review of Auditor-General’s Report No 7 of 2008: Proposal for a gas-fired power station and data centre—Site selection process, -dated 2 February 2010, including additional comments (Mr Smyth), together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

This is a report about a very significant planning exercise. The first thing I would like to say about it is that, when the public accounts committee looked at it, we said we wanted to do a forward-looking report. We thought that, given the community angst, given the time that had elapsed, given the fact that it was a major part of the last election and given the Auditor-General’s report, we did not want to spend our time going through the minutiae of the actual decision.

This report is not about where the data centre should have been located. That has been canvassed at considerable length in other places. The committee focused in this report on how to do it better so that, next time there is a substantial proposal like the data centre, we do not end up with the situation we had last time. I do not think that anyone on any side of politics, whether you are a proponent or whether you oppose this proposal, could think that it was in any way a satisfactory process.

Our recommendations have two basic strands to them. One is about community consultation and the other is about strategic projects. I will start by referring to a quote which appears on page 21 from the chairman of ActewAGL, which I am afraid is such a gem that it probably set the tone of the whole inquiry; I cannot resist it. He told the hearing that, even after the project was scaled back considerably:

… we also … believed that this was a fantastic thing for Canberra, even if we were not going to make the kind of commercial killing that we thought we were going to make earlier in the piece.

I am afraid that quite a bit of that permeated not just the whole inquiry but the whole sorry tale of the data centre. It is a wonderful quote, and I think we need to make sure that in the future commercial killing is not the major consideration in whatever

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