Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2796 ..
Dear Mr Smyth,
I am responding to your query regarding the Pialligo Quarry. I apologise for the delay in getting back to you.
As you are aware TaMS has been seeking a solution on this matter with Mr Barac for some time. A 2009 offer of licence over two blocks for a ten-year term initially received in-principle support. However, Mr Barac subsequently rejected the offer. It was not until September 2009 that Mr Barac indicated that he would be willing to accept the two-block proposal.
That was in September 2009. This is now May 2010. The letter continues:
Senior managers have since been working to identify the legislative and logistical requirements that will be applied to the new licence, which they will shortly provide as a draft to the quarry operators. This will include advice of an appropriate licence fee, determined by the Australian Valuation Office.
Correspondence to Mr Barac confirming this offer and associated conditions is currently being prepared and will be forwarded to him with advice from the AVO when it is received.
That was on 14 April. I speak to Mr Stanhope. We ask him some questions. I say:
What does “proceed unilaterally” mean?
This was on 20 May. He replied:
We need to resolve it. The lease management or governance arrangements around the quarry have always been clouded in some confusion and we are seeking to regularise it. We are seeking to take it forward. We are seeking to protect the public position in relation to it. We have had some difficulty engaging with the proponents. We have set time lines for responses to correspondence or proposals.
And it just goes on. Some of what Mr Stanhope said, I think, is contradicted by what a departmental witness said:
I think we are still waiting for final responses from both of the operators.
Yet the operators were actually waiting for a response from the government. I said:
The Chief Minister said you are awaiting a response. How was the question posed?
Mr Stanhope replied:
How are we dealing with him? In person, by email or by letter?
And it just goes on. The lack of clarity in this is quite sad. But in the interim, a business has been put at great risk. I did get a response from the Chief Minister: