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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 (Hansard) 16 May) . . Page.. 1409 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

This side has great concern about that; it is not as easy as saying that the private sector will pay. The implication is that it is income forgone by the Territory in the form of land being given over in exchange for a clean-up. When the day comes, we may well approve of that; but it is not as simple as saying that the private sector will pay and therefore there is no cost to the Territory. There is a cost to the Territory, and now we find out that it is being considered and the Commonwealth may well consider further what it does about it. We were not told that on the day when I asked the questions.

There is a lot at stake here. Mrs Carnell wants to blame the Opposition for holding up Mr Moore's committee. We are somehow all at fault, but particularly us, because Mr Moore has taken a year to bring down a report. I think it is absolutely important to understand why these things have taken so long: We are simply not getting the full range of information that we as members of this legislature have an absolute responsibility to find out. It is our responsibility to ensure that every decision is made on fully-given, open detail, not on the whim of someone who happens to make the decision.

There is not one person on this side of the house who does not want to see the Kingston site redeveloped. We are all for the redevelopment of the Kingston site, but we do not want to see all of us agreeing to be steamrolled into a dud deal. The questions I have been asking are fair and could have been dealt with in good faith and with goodwill. May I say that we do not find it very pleasing to find a memo written today as the only evidence of the fact that Commonwealth compensation was likely. We take Mr Prattley at his word. Unfortunately, there was no other public information that backed that up, and that was why we were following through with the questions. He is now an ACT officer, but the ACT has not been given public and open information. I am sure that Mr Prattley was right. I am sure that they did have discussions, but the point is that there was nothing on the public record. The application of the self-government Act was never before mentioned, and there were plenty of opportunities for that. We want to see the Kingston site go ahead, we want to see it flourish, but we want to see it done on a fair and equitable basis.

Retirement of Serjeant-at-Arms

MR WHITECROSS (5.53): Mr Speaker, I rise to put on the record my congratulations to Keith Johnson and my best wishes for his future. I first met Keith as an adviser in the Assembly, in the then Speaker's office, and in that capacity had quite a bit to do with him as he went about the day-to-day business of administering the Assembly, particularly at the time when we were working on the very difficult task of completing this building and getting the Legislative Assembly across here from ACTAC while also trying to conduct the business of parliament and of government. Throughout that time I found Keith Johnson to be a very cooperative and helpful person, someone who thought ahead and came up with good solutions to problems, and who was generally on about making this Assembly as effective and prestigious an institution as possible and as comfortable a place in which to work as possible. I must say, Mr Speaker, that that experience has continued since I have been a member. I am sure that I will miss his involvement as a member of the staff of the Secretariat, and I wish him all the best for the future.

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