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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (28 April) . . Page.. 71 ..

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, it depends on what you are talking about. This is not, say, a business incentive fund deal, which, of course, would have regular reporting. The industry put forward a submission to the ACT Government which we believed - which I believed, I have to say - was very much in line with the sorts of projections that I believe the club will achieve. They have already put in place a number of the approaches, or the sorts of things they are going to do, to actually increase the turnover.

As I understand it, they are planning to increase the prize money for races in Canberra, which they believe, and I am sure, over time will attract more horses and better horses to actually race in the ACT. They are looking at encouraging trainers who have moved over the border to come back to Canberra and other trainers to move into the ACT, to actually employ here. Mr Speaker, on the basis of the submission, I would be very interested to see whether those opposite believe that the Racing Club is fibbing, not telling the truth or exaggerating.

Again, Mr Speaker, in this particular case, the Government will make decisions on what it believes is the appropriate approach. I must say that, apart from it being a good submission, one of the compelling issues, from my perspective, was the amount that other racing clubs around Australia were getting in percentage terms from their particular racecourse development funds. I think it is important for the ACT to be, shall we say, in the market.

Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker - again, on the issue of relevance and conciseness: Mr Wood asked a question about the mechanisms the Government had in place. The Chief Minister has completed her answer to Mr Wood's supplementary question, and not a single sentence in that answer dealt with the subject matter of Mr Wood's question. When are you, Mr Speaker, going to rule that the Minister, and Ministers generally, must answer questions in accordance with the rule in relation to relevance and conciseness?

MR SPEAKER: All I can be guided by is the standing orders. Standing order 118 states:

(a) shall be concise and confined to the subject matter of the question ...

It is not always possible for the Chair to accept that the response that is coming through is necessarily irrelevant. We are dealing with quite complicated questions at times, and they do not lend themselves to simple yes/no answers.

Mr Corbell: But we were not asking for one.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I thought I made it very clear that, yes, the Government made a decision based upon the information that was before it, and governments live or die by those decisions every day.

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