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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2139 ..


This is quite a simple motion. It does not need to be amended. Mr Gentleman has, I think, had something distributed while I am speaking. I have not had the opportunity to look at it. Whilst I can do many things at the same time, Madam Speaker, I am not really capable of standing up and addressing you and reading Mr Gentleman’s amendment at precisely the same time.

Mr Rattenbury: There is something to work on.

MS LAWDER: And I am also capable of ignoring interjections from Mr Rattenbury—unlike some people, including Mr Rattenbury, who does not like interjections.

Yesterday we had the budget handed down by the Chief Minister and Treasurer, and it included, towards a position of a chief engineer this year and in the forward estimates, a doughnut—nothing, zero, zero, zero, zero. That is how much the government are willing to put forward for a chief engineer position that they promised in the election and that they put out a press release about exactly a year ago. I ask this government to put their money where their mouth is and appoint a chief engineer.

I have my doubts that this will happen, even without reading Mr Gentleman’s amendment, because we have a government that is hell-bent on looking good, putting up a building here, there, a rail stop over there, but without vision and independent advice. We have a chief minister who is more interested in announcing increases in areas that have actually been cut over a period of years, of having consultative sessions when they already ignore the consultation and the input from the community that they get.

They love to announce policy but they are not good at implementing it. They love to produce glossy brochures and have lots of consultations. But where is the Australia forum? Where is the stadium in the city? Where is the city to the lake project? Where are the state-of-the-art detention facilities for youth in Bimberi up to? How is the state of our mental health facilities going, the state of affordable housing, ever-increasing stamp duty? They like to announce bright, shiny, flashy things but they are not actually addressing the issues that need addressing in our community. It is all talk and no action.

Unfortunately for the people of Canberra, the employment of a chief engineer seems to be another one of those promises that do not eventuate, another one of those things that are worthy of media when media is looking for something to fill their air time or their pages. But it is all froth and bubble. There is nothing actually underneath it.

I call upon the government to appoint the chief engineer so that there can be certainty in future developments and that the people of the ACT can be reassured that they are getting independent advice, integrity in that advice, that they are getting value for money and that things are done to the highest possible standard, including safety of the workers on those projects. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land


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