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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (18 April) . . Page.. 1054 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

The standing committee has also recommended that the Government endorse a broad range of capital works projects for the preparation of forward designs in order to quickly substitute a lower priority project for one that is on a final program but, for some reason, is not able to be implemented according to the program. Again, this is an important recommendation, because it means that the works program will not be held up if any of the major priority works are delayed through unforeseen difficulties - a highly commendable approach.

The Chief Minister, in her role as Treasurer, also deserves the commendation of this parliament for bringing draft capital works proposals forward for consideration by the standing committee. The committee has made note of this in its report to the parliament. As the committee members observe, this forward thinking by our Treasurer should enable capital works to be commenced as soon as possible in the financial year. Mr Speaker, one way this Assembly can help to get Canberra people off the unemployed queue, a queue we all agree is too long, is to generate jobs through the Government's capital works program. The sooner we can get these projects off the drawing board and into the field, the sooner we will provide jobs for the Territory's unemployed.

The committee has also highlighted another important issue about which I have raised concerns previously. That is the question of asbestos disposal at the West Belconnen landfill site. I have had concerns about the opening of the Parkwood site following closure and sealing of the Gungahlin site in August 1991. I accept the need for a disposal area, but I would have preferred to see the selection of a location further away from residential areas. However, I have been assured that all precautions have been taken to make the area totally safe and there is no cause for concern. Although some 42,000 cubic metres of asbestos have been deposited at West Belconnen, the facility has the capacity to meet demands for the next 25 years. If the rate of disposal increases, there is enough space available at West Belconnen to construct a new disposal pit.

Mr Speaker, the proposals outlined in the Planning Committee's report represent a forward-thinking program of capital works. I am pleased to see that a number of projects in my electorate are included in the draft program. In particular, a number of dangerous traffic trouble spots are listed for upgrading, particularly those on William Slim Drive in Giralang and McKellar. Intersections along this busy major arterial road have become some of the most dangerous in the Belconnen area because of the increased traffic flow from the new area of Gungahlin. I am pleased to see that the representations I have made to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr De Domenico, about these danger spots have been taken into account by the Planning Committee in formulating this draft capital works program. I also note with pleasure an appropriation of $450,000 from the health and community care program for work to commence on separation of contaminated waste at Calvary Hospital in Belconnen.

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