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The ACT Assembly has the power to tell the Government to do that and the Government will listen, but I say to you that that is throwing the proper work of government to deal with the ACT's present economic position out the window. It is an abrogation not only of our responsibilities but of yours as well. That is a stupid thing to consider; and I believe, Mr Speaker, that the Opposition should think twice before supporting this motion.
As I indicated, it is insulting to the members of this Government to imply that we are prepared, in effect, to lie to the Assembly. It is unnecessary, in that we should be continuing to discuss with the Commonwealth the implications of the deal, which I say again the Commonwealth to a large extent imposed on the ACT. It is stupid. It is bad management for us to have no further discussions with them about those matters. The Chief Minister has made it clear that we will have to come back to the Assembly and discuss further with members of the Assembly, particularly members of the Planning and Environment Committee, the implications of those negotiations, in particular before any contracts are let, for example, for demolition on the site. But not to do those things in the meantime and not to have those discussions with the Commonwealth, which necessarily would entail spending taxpayers' money, is simply stupid. I would hope that some people in this place would have more sense than to support a stupid naysaying motion like this one.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (3.46): Mr Humphries has gone over quite a number of the issues that we need to talk about; but, first and foremost, I think that the issue that we are facing here is that we have had a government in the ACT for the last three years that has done nothing about the future of the Acton Peninsula or the Kingston foreshore, a government that has not done one thing to unlock the future of both sites that are so essential to the future of this city. What we have done is make a decision along the lines of negotiations and consultations that have happened at length with the people of Canberra.
The NCPA have had many competitions. I think they are called charrettes. They have had full-day community consultation programs. They have done an enormous amount of work to assess what the people of Canberra want for the Acton Peninsula. What came out of that large amount of community consultation was that the people of Canberra wanted for the Acton Peninsula something of national significance, something that everyone in Canberra could use. What they did not want was residential developments or 20,000 square metres of commercial space. When making this decision we took into account what had already happened - that is, substantial community consultation which said that they wanted something of national significance.
What the Commonwealth was offering of national significance was the Gallery of Aboriginal Australia and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Centre. We believe that that is a first step to the Australian National Museum. As I have said before, we will be pushing for the whole museum to go on the Acton Peninsula. We do not believe that it is as good a site as Yarramundi; but, if this is what the Commonwealth is doing, then we will get behind their decision to put the Gallery of Aboriginal Australia there and push for the rest at a later date.