Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (19 May) . . Page.. 324 ..
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, the whole point of going into a preliminary agreement was to assess all of these issues, such as what was the basis of the leases, whether it stacked up financially, whether what Mr Whitcombe was bringing to the proposed joint venture was sufficient to make it stack up - - -
Mr Stanhope: What? You entered into an agreement on the basis of dodgy information, and nobody told you that it was dodgy!
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, as I have said very regularly - and I understand that those opposite are now quickly trying to write some more questions for question time; and they have a very large problem here - the whole basis of having a preliminary agreement was exactly this: To work through all of the outstanding issues before going to a joint venture. That shows, I think, a very appropriate approach from the Government. Mr Speaker, if the Government had entered into a joint venture, then Mr Stanhope would be right; but the fact is that we did not. We entered into an agreement that required a large number of things to be looked at or checked - whether they were planning, environmental or financial issues. Those things have been done, Mr Speaker. It came to the Government's notice, I have to say, that these leases were not in the hands of the Boltons - even though they are physically in their hands; they still actually have the leases. They were handed back in, I think, 1991. That information came to the knowledge of the Government last Friday, Mr Speaker.
MR RUGENDYKE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, I draw your attention to a press release issued by the New South Wales Premier's office this afternoon. The release is entitled, "New South Wales Government Secures Dairy Industry and Rural Communities". For the information of the chamber, I will read a few paragraphs:
The NSW Government will secure the future of about 1800 dairy farmers and 12,000 direct jobs across the State, maintaining current regulations on milk quotas and farm gate prices, the Premier of NSW, Mr Bob Carr, said today.
The NSW Government is committed to regional development and protecting regional jobs ...
If the State Government had not taken this decision, up to 550 dairy farmers - almost a third - would have been forced to leave the industry, costing the State economy $80 million.