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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2975 ..


this stage the case remains marginal or even seriously questionable. We will be asking a lot more questions as we go forward on why this should be the biggest ever spend by a territory government on a capital project. That is something that we look forward to getting some answers on. (Time expired.)

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (8.20): There are a lot of other issues that deserve to be addressed with regard to the Department of Land and Property Services. On page 143 of budget paper 4, there is a dot point in the priorities called “Building an inventory of urban renewal opportunities”. What we were able to find out during the estimates is that this work will be done with TAMS; it is expected to cost $150,000 and it will occur in the coming financial year.

I think it is very important in terms of the context of the future that we have this work done, so I look forward to seeing that report. The Chief Minister was not able to give us an actual time frame on when it might become available, but it will be done some time in the coming year. It will be done in conjunction with ACTPLA, and it is to look at vacant sites, infill sites and other opportunities. It really will become an important document in that much of the discussion about the future shape of the ACT and where people will live and work will be in the infill area. We look forward to the discussion that, no doubt, will commence.

There is an item worth $50,000 entitled “A feasibility assessment for a general aviation airport”. I was interested to see this, because the general aviation sector have told me that they have had a number of reports done and they are quite sick of reports; they actually want something to happen. Upon questioning the Chief Minister, he reiterated that the probable site is at Williamsdale, although that is not confirmed. The allocation is to do a financial study, which apparently has not been done before, on this site. Again, we look forward to that being done expeditiously. If we are to have an enhanced general aviation sector in the ACT, having this work done such that we might make a decision is certainly worth while.

While we were discussing the issue of the general aviation airport, a number of the officers were being introduced as acting officers—we had an acting chief executive officer and we had an acting chief financial officer. I asked the question, “Did you announce at the beginning that you were acting,” to which all the officers said, “Yes, we are.” I find it quite strange that, after the operation of the department for six or seven months, all of the senior executives still seem to be acting in their positions. Given that we have got three different organisations looking at the use of land in the ACT—ACTPLA, LAPS and the LDA—it is important that, if the department is to go forward, those positions are filled so that people have some certainty in their jobs and they can actually get on with doing their jobs.

Of course, the big item in the budget for the Department of Land and Property Services this year is money for the arboretum—some $26 million. We have canvassed it rather a great deal in the debates of recent days, but it does really go to the question of priorities—what is the government interested in and is it looking out here for the people of the ACT? We are reducing budgets in other areas, we are making savings, yet we still find $26 million for the arboretum. It is for those outside their place to make their own decision on it, but it is a lot of money on top of the previous money spent. This is at a time when other services are stretched. Mr Doszpot is interested in


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