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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 4387 ..

MR SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Minister has the floor. This is an important answer on an important issue that concerns all of us.

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I do not think it is within your purview to comment on the importance or otherwise of an answer. It is within your purview to uphold the standing orders.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

MRS CARNELL: I believe that this announcement today is probably the most significant announcement in the long history of this concept - a concept that certainly Ms Follett supported, much to her credit. I believe that it is very important, Mr Speaker. By the way, so does Bob Carr. It appears that the only people who do not think it is important are those opposite.

In effect, all three governments, by putting this project out to expressions of interest now, are basically saying to the private sector, "Put in your bids". The project will proceed if what the private sector has told us is true, and that is that they can do it at no net cost to government. We will get the very fast train. The agreement between the three governments is that a project group comprising officials from all three governments will oversight the next part of the project, which will take six months. At the end of that time we will be able to select a preferred consortium for the project. In short, we are saying to the private sector that it is time, I suppose, to put up or shut up with regard to this very important project. The private sector consortiums which are interested in developing this project can now proceed with confidence, knowing that all governments involved - the ACT, New South Wales and Federal governments - are right behind and support this project. If it is now possible, as the private sector has told us all the way through, for this project to be able to be put together at no net cost to government, then it will go ahead.

Mr Speaker, this is one of the most important days for the ACT. The very fast train concept is not a concept anymore. It is now, as I said earlier, going into the implementation phase. This is one of the most important projects for this city and this region. It is absolutely atrocious that those opposite laugh and snigger and put a project of this sort of import down. Mr Whitecross, who for nine months has come up with not one idea, said, "There is a better way; we are just not quite sure what it is". I believe that virtually everybody in the ACT, except maybe those opposite, supports this proposal. I believe that we should be very pleased that finally all three governments have come together and will be working together to get this project one step further.

Civic Swimming Pool

MS REILLY: I have a question for the Minister for Sport. When the management of ACT pools was put to tender, did you tell all the prospective tenderers that they would be permitted to leave the bubble over Civic pool? Why was not the Royal Life Saving Society invited to tender?

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