Hansard . . Page.. 250 ..
Also, there may be some costs associated with the actual negotiations. I do not think it would be in the interests of the committee, or for that matter this Assembly, to suggest that no taxpayers’ money at all should be spent. It is interesting to note, though, that it actually costs the ACT Government very close to $1m a year right now to maintain Acton Peninsula in its current form. That is after we get rent and whatever. So, in net terms it is costing the ACT Government $1m a year to keep slightly decaying buildings that are not being used for anything. It is already costing us money. I have absolutely no problems with the middle part of the motion. As for the beginning bit and the end bit, I think there are quite significant concerns from the perspective of the committee that is looking at this whole area and from the Assembly's perspective as well.
The Labor Party's approach to this is simply to stop it. That has been their approach all week. We have seen that they do not want any changes to betterment, to leases, to Acton, to Kingston - to anything. They do not want to do anything. Their whole approach for the last three years has been to do absolutely nothing. The fact is that we have made a decision. We are going ahead, doing things to increase employment, to get business back on track in the ACT, to get our economy moving again. That is what this is all about. But we want to get it right too, and we are very happy for the Assembly committee to look at it, with the right information. If we allow negotiations to continue but we stop any contracts from being signed, and we allow public money to be spent on site assessment and other issues associated with working up the final proposal, then I have absolutely no problems at all with the motion, because those commitments have already been given.
MR CONNOLLY (3.54): I am rising in this debate really to ask Mrs Carnell to table this exchange of letters that constitutes a binding legal agreement. This is the first we have heard of a binding legal agreement. I would ask her to do it without having to so move. On Tuesday, as I see from Hansard, Mrs Carnell was asked very specifically, “Is there a written agreement?”. She said, “There is an agreement”, but she did not refer to a written agreement. She later referred to “this agreement”. She was asked, “Where?”. I must say that I read this as, “Where is the agreement?”. She said, “On Acton Peninsula” in relation to the question of where. She was then asked very specifically by Mr Berry, “Where is the piece of paper?”, and she waffled on, as she is wont to; but at no stage in answering the very specific question asked of her, the interjections or the follow-up question, “Where is the piece of paper; where is the agreement; what is the agreement?” had we heard of an exchange of letters that is legally binding.
I think this is a very significant little piece of information that has been dropped incidentally in relation to this debate. So, I would ask Mrs Carnell to immediately table this exchange of letters that is legally binding, so that members can have a look at it. I give notice that if she fails to do so I will seek to move under the appropriate standing order to require that it be tabled, but I give her the opportunity to table it first.