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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1290 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

the contamination of the entire Kingston foreshore site was already well known and was being discussed by public officials. Can the Chief Minister confirm that the discussion about the clean-up at the AGPS site - the memo she gave me yesterday - is what she was referring to in her press release of 7 May this year, which I also quoted from yesterday? It says:

We can no longer afford to sit on our hands and do nothing in the face of a major economic challenge. We have already commissioned a study to find if there is contamination on the Kingston site and it has been clear from the start that any cleanup would be a matter for further negotiation with the Commonwealth.

Can the Chief Minister confirm that it is this memo she is referring to when she talks about discussions from the start?

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, discussions obviously have been under way on all sorts of aspects of the Acton-Kingston swap. I might, for Ms McRae's edification, quote from the self-government Act, the ACT (Planning and Management) Act 1988, to help her just a little with this whole discussion issue. It says in section 51:

(1) The Commonwealth shall indemnify the Territory, and keep the Territory indemnified, against any action, claim or demand brought or made against the Territory in respect to any act done or omitted to be done by or on behalf of the Commonwealth, being an action, claim or demand that, apart from this Act, could be brought or made against the Commonwealth.

(2) The indemnity extends to damages, expenses and costs arising from, connected with or consequential upon such an action, claim or demand.

As that self-government Act makes it quite clear that the Commonwealth does have to indemnify the Territory for any toxic wastes, for any contamination that they have caused or put there or that might have been there while the Commonwealth was in charge, it is clear that negotiations are obviously going on with regard to that issue. I think it makes it very clear. It is actually in legislation, Mr Speaker.

MS McRAE: Mr Speaker, I am sorry; I want the first question answered. The question I asked was: What discussions were there?

Mr Hird: Preamble, Mr Speaker.


MS McRAE: Mr Speaker, it is quite unfair to be lectured at. I want an answer.

Mr Hird: Preamble, Mr Speaker. You are running the place, not she.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hird!

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