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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1315 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

to the Chief Minister in particular, that, whilst we did identify it as an interim report, it was not with the intention of saying, "Everything is blocked; you cannot go ahead". In fact, a close reading of the report will show that that is not what we set out to do at all; rather we say, "If this deal is to go ahead, then there are some other things that need to be done".

As an overall concept, when I look at the deal that was done on the Acton-Kingston land swap, I stand by what I wrote in the preface. I do not think it was a good deal. In fact, I would say that it was a bad deal. The reason I say that is that I believe that there were too many loose ends; not enough had been tied up. When the Chief Minister announced the deal in the first instance, it was always associated with a Gallery of Aboriginal Australia on Acton Peninsula. I went back and looked at the reports in the Canberra Times, and the whole tenor of the argument was, "This is a reasonable land swap because, associated with this land swap, is a Gallery of Aboriginal Australia to go on Acton Peninsula". It had a key purpose upon which we could rely.

With that in mind, and having listened to many community groups about the Acton Peninsula and many community groups about the Kingston site, the committee prepared a draft and were in the process of considering that draft when it became clearer and clearer that the Federal election was likely to bring about a result that could have a major impact on that decision. Therefore, we determined late last year that it was inappropriate for us to bring down a committee report at that time, until we could determine whether the Gallery of Aboriginal Australia was likely to go ahead in that way.

There were a number of occasions on which the Government made approaches and asked whether we could do certain things about the development of Kingston. The establishment of the Kingston Foreshore Development Authority was one of those things. The committee had no objection to that. My recollection is that the matter was actually brought to this Assembly, but I can be corrected on that.

We tried to ensure that the Government would have enough room to move, but there were certain issues upon which we had great concerns. One of those issues was the contamination of the site. In fact, three weeks prior to the report coming down, the Chief Minister wrote to us and said, "I want to get an assessment of the contamination of that site". That was just three weeks before we were ready to report. At that point, I actually held that letter. I made other members of the committee aware of it, and we determined that it would be appropriate for the report to come down so that that issue would be clarified as part of the report. That was a delay of three weeks.

When the committee report came out, we had a response from the Chief Minister that went something like this - and I must say that it was in quite intemperate language: First of all, the land swap report was a cop-out. Her press release stated:

Chief Minister Kate Carnell has slammed an Assembly Committee report on the Acton/Kingston land swap as a "cop out" and a pathetic response to the serious economic challenge facing the ACT.

What was making her angry was that we had identified that what she had completed was a bad deal; it was a bad deal for Canberra.

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