Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 August 2011) . . Page.. 3748 ..
In short, the government provided no conclusive evidence for their claimed savings. They say that the numbers were based on conversations with private sector organisations that have recently co-located into a single building.
Of the 20 recommendations made by the committee regarding the government office block in its appropriations report, the government only agreed to four recommendations, noted 13, did not agree to two and agreed in principle to one recommendation. On the whole, the committee reported that it found:
… the information and explanations provided by the Government confusing. During hearings, the Committee was told that other Directorates would be able to answer specific questions, but the Committee continued to find it difficult to obtain a satisfactory level of detail.
So we have got a situation where members of all parties were finding that the explanations simply did not add up. We were given contradictory figures, shoddy workings and an A4 sheet of paper, after millions of dollars had been spent on consultants, to justify the claimed savings. The claimed savings are a load of rubbish and they have been shown to be. Anyone who has to keep changing their story in order to justify their savings cannot be trusted. That is where we are faced, in considering this project, with the government.
We are, unfortunately, now faced with a government that I believe is intent on pushing ahead with this project. I would say—and this motion says it today—that this is not a project to go ahead with. This is not a project that the community needs or deserves. Putting aside the shoddy claims of savings, putting aside the failure to provide information and putting aside the contradictory information, let us make it really simple: this $432 million should be spent on better priorities. It should not be spent on an office block we do not need at a time when we have the highest vacancies in the country. It does not make sense at a service delivery level. It does not make sense from the community’s perspective. It does not make business sense at a time of high vacancies. It does not stack up or add up at any level. That is why we believe that this project should be abandoned.
The government should get on with doing the job the community expects it to do—delivering on the infrastructure and services that the community desires and expects. That is what we stand for. This government now has the opportunity—Katy Gallagher as leader—to walk away from what is a dud project. Does she have the guts to do it or will she subject the taxpayers of the ACT to a project that is unnecessary and overly costly—a project which we simply do not need and cannot afford?
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.