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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 640 ..

Mr Osborne: The one we pay $12m to.

MR HUMPHRIES: The one we pay $12m to. Indeed, Mr Speaker, Mr Osborne has hit the nail on the head. I simply hope that Mr Eastman does not have any friends in the ACT who can ring up and say, "It is about Mr Eastman. You can let him go now. He has done his time". So, we can only hope, Mr Speaker, that this is not the case.

On a serious note, Mr Speaker, I am concerned about the sorts of excuses we get occasionally from the New South Wales Government. This is not the only occasion, unfortunately, I have to say, when we have had some fairly bizarre comments coming from Sydney about the reason why something has or has not happened. We were told a couple of months ago - in fact, the New South Wales Health Minister actually told the media - that the contracts for the rescue helicopter service had been signed. We have actually had meetings with the officials from New South Wales in the last two weeks, and they do not know anything about any contracts being signed. So, all I would say to Mr Osborne is: Take what you read in the Daily Telegraph, in particular, with a grain of salt.

MR OSBORNE: I have a supplementary question. Mr Humphries, will you undertake to write to the New South Wales Corrective Services Minister indicating your disappointment with this matter?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I will undertake to write. I have actually already been in touch, through my officers, with New South Wales Corrective Services and I have asked them, if they released a prisoner on the say-so of a telephone call, whether they can tell us the name of the officer who authorised the release, and they cannot. So, they released a prisoner, supposedly on the basis of a telephone call, but they cannot say who this person was that happened to be on the other end of the telephone, which is a most bizarre situation. I will follow that up with my counterpart in New South Wales, and I hope that procedures will change in New South Wales.

Belconnen Aquatic Centre

MR BERRY: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, following a review by the Competitive Neutrality Complaints Unit, the Government announced that it will commit $200,000 to a feasibility study of the proposed Belconnen pool. Can the Chief Minister tell the Assembly whether terms of reference have been established for that feasibility study?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, as the money is in the budget that has not been brought down or passed at this stage, it would be an extremely brave government that put something out for tender before we actually had the budget. But certainly it is the plan of the Government that a detailed feasibility study will be undertaken. That feasibility study will include references to all factors involved in making a capital works decision, including both competitive neutrality impacts on the marketplace and the financial returns that might be expected from an investment of this scale.

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