Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 2 Hansard (27 February) . . Page.. 320 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Mr Speaker, the cost is a matter which I think will have to be assessed comprehensively and accurately at the end of the day - that is, when we have completed the clean-up process. Certainly, the total net cost to the ACT will range anywhere between $2m and $5m. It could, in fact, be higher than that. I simply could not say at this point in time.
Mr Wood: Does that include Kingston?
MR HUMPHRIES: No, it does not. These are contaminated sites arising from sheep dips. Let me say, Mr Speaker, that - - -
Mr Wood: So Kingston would be a - - -
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Humphries is answering Mr Hird's question.
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Hird asked me who will pay for these costs. At the moment, the ACT taxpayers will have to pick up those costs. That is, I think, most unfortunate. The Commonwealth presided over the operation of the ACT throughout the entire period that the sheep dips that are now at issue were established and used. Indeed, in the case of most of the sites that are now under houses, it actually established those houses. As a result, we now find ourselves having to meet much larger costs in remediating those sites than would have been the case had houses not been built over the top of them.
Mr Speaker, I think it is most important in the context of this particular Federal campaign that the major parties be prepared to address the question of whether the Commonwealth will be prepared to assist the ACT to meet those very significant costs. We would have to wear an act of God, or something that we were partly responsible for. A matter that we have inherited, through no fault of our own management or handling of ACT planning issues or environmental issues, is a matter we should not have to bear. The citizens of the ACT, I think, are entitled to look to the Commonwealth for some assistance, just as they got assistance in the case of asbestos, and I would urge parties in the Federal campaign to indicate their support for assistance from the Commonwealth. I personally will endorse any party that is prepared to supply that assistance.
Mr Berry: Okay; would you come out and endorse the Labor Party?
MR HUMPHRIES: I will certainly do that; you bet.
MS HORODNY: My question is to Mrs Carnell, because Mr Stefaniak is not here today. Mr Stefaniak's office was given notice of this question. The Greens have received some evidence that there is a health and safety problem in the ACT caused by lead contamination of public houses and schools. Up to 5,000 homes and numerous schools are contaminated by lead-based paint. Could the Minister inform the Assembly whether the Government has a register of houses and schools owned by the ACT Government