Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

None . . Page.. 249 ..

Up to date there has been an exchange of letters between the Commonwealth and the ACT Government. It is legally binding. We have an agreement in place. What is happening at the moment, for the benefit of the Greens and the Independents - I do not think the Labor Party are even slightly interested - is that negotiations are under way to spell out the extent of the arrangement, that is, to - - -

Mr Connolly: Can we see this exchange of letters that is legally binding?

MRS CARNELL: I see absolutely no reason why exchanges of - - -

Mr Connolly: This is the first we have heard of it.

MRS CARNELL: I have said it actually four times, I think, in the last few days. What we are talking about is now sorting out the extent of the deal that has already been done, the exchange of letters that has already happened. That means sorting out timeframes for when demolition may occur, when the Commonwealth actually needs access and to what sites they need access. They still have not spelt out definitely where they want to put the Gallery of Aboriginal Australia. There has been some indication of where that might be, but up to date we have not seen a definite plan of where that may be. Of course, there is the issue of the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, the one that is funded out of the casino premium, that we want to convince the Commonwealth to put in the same part of the world on Acton Peninsula and that our Aboriginal communities in the ACT are very keen to see happen.

So, as part of these agreements and negotiations that are going on at the moment, we are spelling out the basis of this deal - how it fills up, how it fills out, what the timeframes are, the extent of the land that we are actually talking about on Kingston, what will happen with things like the Australian Government Printer, what timeframes the Commonwealth will need before they may or may not relocate off that site, and similar issues along those lines. That is the sensible and rational approach. All of those things need to be in place before any contract or tender would or could be let for the demolition of anything on Acton Peninsula. There are certainly no indications at this stage that we are in the business of demolishing anything on Kingston until, of course, the competition is over and we know what we are going to use the site for.

So, what we are doing is spelling out the extent of the deal. Those negotiations must continue. In fact, from the committee's perspective, I would assume that the committee would want to know what the extent of the actual arrangements between the Commonwealth and the ACT so that they could make rational decisions as well. I have no problems with the second part of the motion, because I have already committed the Government to not entering into any arrangements, contracts or tenders for demolition on Acton Peninsula.

I think the issue of no further taxpayers’ money being spent on Acton or Kingston is a very dangerous thing to put in this motion, because I believe that money would have to be spent on the actual assessment of both sites, particularly the Kingston site, from our perspective. That is an assessment that I understand I have been asked by some members of this house to do with regard to what the level of contamination may be. In other words, site assessment generally would need to happen.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .