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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 897 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

I was interested to hear the Chief Minister, on 2CC radio the other morning, indicating that within the next four to six weeks she envisaged there would be a decision by the three governments involved - the Federal Government, the New South Wales Government and the ACT Government. I know personally the driving force that she has been in knocking down doors and barriers so that this project would come to fruition. I compliment her on that because she could see the benefits, as did my committee, that would come to the ACT and the people in the south-east region. I also note that in the Government's response to the 15 recommendations the committee put forward, there was not one dissent from any of the recommendations. I compliment the Government. The Government is to be congratulated on the fact that it is already implementing some of those recommendations.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (3.47): I rise to support the motion and to make a comment as somebody who, like Mr Berry, took the opportunity while overseas to travel on a range of very high speed trains. We recognise that what we have is a basically united view from this Assembly that we ought to be in there supporting this project. It is a project about which I know this Government has shown enthusiasm. The previous Government showed enthusiasm as well. Each of us, whenever we are dealing with our colleagues in other States, and particularly in New South Wales, ought to continue to raise the matter. Certainly, I have personally raised it with a number of members of parliament from New South Wales, including a member from Wollongong. That member from Wollongong was, of course, very keen on a particular train - that is, the magnetic levitation train. As Wayne Berry says, it is his favourite.

Some of you will have noticed recently that it is hard to find Wayne and me agreeing on some issues, but we have both been on the train and there is no doubt that the magnetic levitation train is just head and shoulders above the others to ride on. People from Wollongong, of course, will be particularly enthusiastic about it because they will get a fast train going through their area, which I think will actually address many of the economic problems. But that is not up to us to assess; that is being done through the appropriate processes. What we have to do is ensure that, whatever the outcome, we are in a position to gain the best possible advantages for our community, because it is not just about people who are in Canberra now; it is also about future generations within Canberra and the advantages that such a project will bring to those generations. It is great to hear of people working together and trying to get excellent outcomes.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (3.49): I will speak very briefly, as I do not wish to take more time than is necessary. The Labor Party is, of course, committed to doing everything possible to progress the reality of the train proposals. We are intent on doing that and we are seeking to play a constructive role. I have been making the point that this is an issue that transcends politics. It is an issue on which there should be bipartisan support. It is an issue on which we in this place should seek to bring the entire community together and behind us. The Labor Party stands ready to do that, and seeks to do that. In that respect the Chief Minister's throwaway, insulting words at the end of her prepared speech - the ad-libbed insult - were completely unnecessary and not conducive to our working in a bipartisan way to forward this process. It is a pity, on a day when we can actually applaud the progress that is being achieved in relation to this, that the Chief Minister politicised it by being divisive and adversarial.

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