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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4724 ..

Mrs Carnell: Except that in this document the Greens supported yesterday it says that we should have a 24-hour airport.

MR HUMPHRIES: Indeed, that is the somewhat curious contradiction we find constantly in this place. The other day we had a similar motion about the Government's moves towards public consultation on Ainslie.

Ms Tucker: On a point of order Mr Speaker: Could we address the issue we are supposed to be debating?

MR SPEAKER: Relevance, Mr Humphries.

MR HUMPHRIES: You have never taken a point of order like that before, Ms Tucker. That is a first for you. She is taking lessons, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: She is learning. Not only that; I uphold the point of order, Mr Humphries.

MR HUMPHRIES: I can see that the numbers are stacked against me, Mr Speaker, so I had better stick to the issue. The issue is the unnecessary sensitivity of the Assembly about these sorts of matters and the desire the Government has expressed very clearly throughout this debate and at other times to be able to get on with the task of collecting information and exploring ideas with the community. It seems to me an extraordinary contradiction that, on the one hand, we are pilloried in this place continually for not consulting enough on issues, not having information available to give the Assembly about particular issues on which members demand answers almost instantly; and, on the other hand, when we attempt to explore ways we can better use a particularly important Government asset, we are shot down for asking people to put forward essentially what amounts to commercial consultation about what could happen with that building. I ask members to consider what massive contradiction there is in the brief they are handing to the Government in those circumstances.

MR BERRY (4.19): I have referred to the amendment moved by Ms Tucker, and I wish to speak on a few comments that were made by Mr Humphries. On the refurbishment issue, every building requires refurbishment from time to time; standards change in relation to air-conditioning, lifts, and so on. When refurbishment occurs, it can quite often be expensive when you have to deal with those sorts of refits, and it depends on what you want to do with a particular building. The most expensive refurbishment plan I have heard of in respect of that building was when somebody wanted to build a new floor in the void in the building - a floor or more - which would have been extremely expensive. I have heard in the past figures of $7m, but for publicity purposes I think $9m has been adopted. Buildings as they age require refurbishment; but nobody would deny that that building was built to old Commonwealth standards, which were way above standards that would be accepted for construction work now, and it is a building very worthy of refurbishment because of its expected life.

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