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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4602 ..

MR WHITECROSS: And how is a question hypothetical which asks the Minister to confirm whether or not he believes that this survey was just a cynical exercise, with leading questions to railroad library users into agreeing with cuts the Government had decided?

MR SPEAKER: That is an expression of opinion, Mr Whitecross.

MR WHITECROSS: That is not a hypothetical question, Mr Speaker; it is a yes-no question.

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, I do not believe that it is a cynical exercise. It is an exercise the Government does and it is called consultation, I think. You actually ask people how they would prefer the service they use to be. Interestingly, we also asked questions of those people who do not use the Library Service. We said to them, "Why do you not use the Library Service?". Some of them said, "Perhaps if you were open on Saturday afternoons and Sundays we might be inclined to use the library. We cannot use it Monday to Friday because we work".

This Government is proud of the fact that it consults with the community and it is also proud of the fact that when we do consult with the community we listen to what the people say and we do change things to adjust to what people say. Members opposite do not like change, I know. Had they liked change, they would have done something about it during their five years in office, or four years, or whatever it was. This Government from time to time will make mistakes, and when we have we have always stood up in this place and said, "We are wrong; we are sorry", or whatever. This time the Government will react on the survey. We will do what the people want us to do. We will reduce opening hours at certain times during the day - instead of opening on Monday mornings and Tuesday mornings, for example, we will open on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. Why will we do that? Because that is when people want to use their libraries.

Strategic Plan

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister and refers to the ACT strategic plan, which was released publicly yesterday. I specifically refer to the comments in the Canberra Times, where I noticed that it had received quite fulsome support from all those with vested interests, namely, the business and property groups. I quote Mr Ossie Kleinig of the Canberra Business Council:

We are in agreement with virtually everything. In fact, it could have been written from the files of the council and its predecessor, the Canberra Association for Regional Development. Most of the points it contains have been our policy at least since self-government.

Chief Minister, considering that and considering that those without vested interests have roundly criticised the ACT strategic plan, would you agree that it is primarily focused on local sectional interests in the business community and excludes the interests of the broader community?

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