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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1213 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

The Chief Minister's response to that certainly included reference to correspondence, or letters, or words to that effect, and I ask that the Assembly adopt this motion in order that we can see the correspondence and immediately clarify the matter forevermore.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (3.53): Mr Speaker, it is very hard to debate these issues without Hansard in front of us; but certainly I said in question time that various correspondence went between me and the Prime Minister and the department, and that discussions occurred at various times in the last 12 months with regard to negotiations that would occur once we knew what we might be dealing with. For the life of me, I do not think it is appropriate for this Assembly to be asking for non-specific pieces of correspondence. We will also want run-downs of memos of discussions that may or may not have occurred between various officials and so on - not on an offer, because we have never said that there was an offer; there was just an undertaking to negotiate when we knew what we were dealing with. I do not believe that that is an appropriate approach, Mr Speaker. Once you get to a stage in question time where you want correspondence and discussions that happen at an intergovernment level on statements that may or may not have been made, when we do not have Hansard in front of us, it is simply ridiculous.

I have made it quite clear that negotiations will occur with the Commonwealth with regard to contamination when we know what we are dealing with. We are currently in the business of going down the path of a survey of contaminated sites, finally, because we have not been able to do that for the last 12 months, to determine what it is we are dealing with. I had a discussion with the Prime Minister and also with Warwick Smith with regard to those ongoing discussions and the fact that we would enter into negotiations when we knew what we were dealing with. I think I have made very clear to the Assembly what we are talking about here. The reality is that you cannot have negotiations until you know what you are dealing with. We are having the contaminated sites survey now, in line with what the committee suggested we do. I have also made it quite clear to this Assembly, and I think anybody who knows anything about business will know this, that the cost of cleaning up the site will add to the value of the land. It is that simple. There is also an issue for the Commonwealth, of course, in what happens with the Government Printing Office - a decision that is yet to be made at the Commonwealth level.

It is interesting to realise with regard to this contaminated site issue that all those opposite are really doing here is ensuring that nothing ever happens in this city, that we get to a stage where a government simply cannot even enter into correspondence at an intergovernment level. Some of these sorts of pieces of correspondence are quite able to be tabled and some of them obviously are not. It is simply unacceptable to be asked to table documents that were not read from in this place, that were not here in this place, and where I have made it very clear to this Assembly that we will have negotiations with the Commonwealth - I have made that clear to the new Government - when we know what we are dealing with. At this stage we do not, simply because this Assembly stopped us going ahead with a contaminated site survey until very recently. I think that is fairly cut and dried. I do not think it is appropriate - - -

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