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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1228 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

I stress "within current planning guidelines", Mr Speaker. I understand also that the Chief Minister asked that the matter be assessed and potentially progressed, if it were approved. At no time did the Government seek to short-circuit the proper planning processes or pre-empt the outcome of those particular processes. The decision to request that the matter be assessed was made to provide an opportunity for the community to have a rural residential lifestyle in the Territory, if this could be achieved within statutory planning guidelines, without having to go across the border to achieve this. A number of steps were taken, including a number of meetings called by various groups, and a lot of debate was had at an early stage in relation to this.

In agreeing that the proposal be assessed, my colleagues gave a very high priority to ensuring that it put in place adequate measures to protect the Territory's interests while the proposal was being further developed. The arrangements also ensured that the Boltons' long association with the district was recognised and acknowledged. Mr Speaker, looking at everything that has occurred to date, I do not think there is any inkling of any proof that the Chief Minister or her deputy, Mr Humphries, has done anything that could be remotely construed as deliberately or recklessly misleading the Assembly. Indeed, when there were any matters discovered which were not quite as they might have seemed initially, including who owned the actual land in question, the Chief Minister was very forthcoming in admitting that at the earliest available opportunity. When both my colleagues felt that they might have misconstrued the words "block" and "lease", they wrote to each and every one in this Assembly making that point well and truly known; and today they have made statements, as they indicated they would, to rectify the matter. Quite clearly, Mr Speaker, these charges - in fact, they are somewhat outrageous charges - by the Opposition have not been made out.

Motion (by Mr Humphries), by leave, agreed to:

That the debate on this motion be adjourned and the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for a later hour this day and have precedence of other notices and orders of the day.

Sitting suspended from 12.29 to 2.30 pm


Hepatitis C

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister will recall announcing on 15 August 1997, when she was Minister for Health, a public information forum on the prevention and management of hepatitis C. Given that she was undoubtedly well briefed by her department on the issue, does the Chief Minister stand by reports in the Canberra Times of 19 and 20 August that she was never informed of the use for transfusions, between 1985 and 1990, of blood contaminated by the virus?


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