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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1840 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, we also assessed a range of other issues, including Environment ACT. We looked at some of the impact of cuts at the Googong Dam. The Googong Dam has been in the news of late and we discovered that there will be a reduction of funding for Googong Dam. This clearly is going to have an impact on the effective management of the reserve, and it is also going to have, I believe, an impact on the quality of access users of Googong will now receive. The Government argued that changing priorities meant that there was going to be a reduction at Googong and funding was going elsewhere. That really meant a withdrawal. A change in priorities means, in essence, a withdrawal of the management of recreational uses of the area.

I asked a question in the Estimates Committee in relation to whether or not the reduction in funding would have an impact on the value of the assets at Googong Dam. A large amount of money is invested in physical infrastructure and assets at Googong Dam, and I asked whether this reduction in funding would result in a reduction in the maintenance of those assets and lead to a real downgrading of the value of the asset.

That question was taken on notice and I got my answer back eventually. The answer was not, I must admit, particularly reassuring for me. It did indicate the value of some of the assets at Googong Dam, but it failed to address the issues of the value of some of the more major assets such as the roads, some of the picnic areas and those sorts of things. They were not addressed in the answer I received, so I am still none the wiser, really, on whether or not the reduction of funding for management at Googong Dam is going to have an impact on the maintenance of the value of the assets and the physical infrastructure at Googong Dam.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am conscious of my time. I may take the opportunity a little later in the debate to address some of the other issues that I believe are of concern arising out of the Estimates Committee's examination of this appropriation.

MS TUCKER (8.41): I have a few general comments on this area. The push to implement competition policy in this department is having major impacts. The department has been split into purchaser and provider groups, with the provider groups such as CityScape Services being commercialised and coming under competitive tendering, as has already happened with Totalcare. Road user services like vehicle registration checks and driver training have also been outsourced to the private sector.

This break-up of the department and its increased focus on commercial opportunities is having major impacts on the ability of the department to develop new, innovative policies to help the ACT meet the demands of the next century. For example, the Government has announced a greenhouse gas reduction target and a waste reduction target, but little is being done to implement these targets. There is also a crying need for an integrated transport strategy for the ACT to get us out of our car dependency rut and to avoid the building of the John Dedman Parkway. Of course, the introduction recently of the zonal system, which so incredibly disadvantages the Gungahlin residents, is something that we have to keep in mind when we are thinking about the John Dedman Parkway. The Government, after some delay, produced an ACT bicycle strategy last year, yet in the budget there is no new funding for cyclepaths. So much for the Government's commitment to promote cycling.

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