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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1291 ..

Mr Hird: Well, she is running the place, or makes out that she is.

MR SPEAKER: Would you mind asking that question again, Ms McRae? I did not hear it.

MS McRAE: Mr Speaker, I did promise not to be vexing, but there is a very clear intent in my asking this question. I will ask my supplementary question and perhaps it will be made clearer. The answer has still not been provided. Does the Chief Minister believe that this policy is one to be followed by all her Ministers, that is, that statements making clear implications which are not verifiable by any evidence are an acceptable form of public comment? That is at the heart of what I am asking.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I still do not quite understand the question. Quite clearly, yesterday I tabled the minute, which made it very clear that discussions had been going on since last May with regard to the AGPS site. To my knowledge, the only area where any work has been done to assess contamination is that site, which makes it clear that that is the only one we can be negotiating at this stage. We also made it clear that we wanted to go ahead with a full look at what contamination might be on the site. We fully accept that there may be some contamination on the ACTEW site, and I can promise you that that is going to be our responsibility because it is our site now. The areas that are of contention here are the ones that belong to the Commonwealth, not the ones that belong to the ACT.

The legislation makes it quite clear that the Commonwealth has a responsibility to indemnify the ACT for any contamination that may be there or become involved. I will make it quite clear. It means that the Act really shows that any contamination would need to be the subject of negotiation between the Commonwealth and the ACT.

Mr Moore: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Standing order 117(c)(iii) suggests that questions shall not ask for a legal opinion. In this case, when the Chief Minister is talking about ACTEW not coming under the self-government Act, one has to wonder whether ACTEW was indeed part of the Commonwealth.

MR SPEAKER: No, the Chief Minister did not say that. The Chief Minister did not indicate that ACTEW was not under the Act; far from it. There is no point of order.

MRS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. In fact, I made that very clear. The ACTEW site would be a responsibility of the ACT Government, as we see it. The AGPS site and others would be the responsibility of negotiations with the Commonwealth. We will also be interested in negotiating with the Commonwealth the whole issue of contamination on the site, it is quite clear. It seems that those opposite yet again want to stop anything that is likely to create jobs in this place. I find it fascinating that comments continue to be made about redundancies and about all the rest of these issues that would and do cause very real problems in this place. It may be seen that this Assembly is not in the business of creating jobs, that this Assembly does not want to get on with programs that can be so important to this city. The Kingston foreshore swap is one of those.

I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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