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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2227 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

The second matter is a matter that was raised a couple of days ago by Mr Berry concerning the casino premium. Mr Berry told the house that the Labor Government previously had put aside $19m of the casino premium for the building of cultural assets in the ACT. I wanted to check that. I have gone back and checked the records very carefully. Mr Berry used the words "put aside". Precision of language has been a very important part of the way in which we have moved censure motions and so on in this place, Mr Speaker, so I think it is worth putting on the record that $19m was not put aside. Indeed, no money was put aside from the casino premium. The casino revenue went straight into Consolidated Revenue and - - -

Mr Berry: Yes, and it was held there.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, it was not; it was spent. Mr Speaker, the records will show that the truth of the matter is that the money was spent. It was not preserved; it was not conserved. Interest on the money was not put to one side. Mr Berry knows full well that, when we came to office and had to meet the bulk of the cost of the projects which were identified in the report of the original committee, we had no money put aside for that purpose. Not one cent, Mr Speaker, was put aside.

Mr Berry: Who made the decision to put the casino premium into the arts facilities? Labor. Labor made the decision.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, could I have some capacity to address - - -

MR SPEAKER: Order! Just be quiet, Mr Berry.

Mr Berry: I might check the record. I might have a chance to move another one.

MR SPEAKER: You do that, and do it quietly.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Berry, who has been so quick to move censure motions in this place against people who have misled the Assembly, ought to bear in mind that that kind of inaccuracy is the sort of thing that we would have been facing a censure motion for had we made those statements.

Mr Speaker, the third matter I want to mention is the new rescue helicopter service which is to begin in just a few days' time. On 28 September, next week, the ACT will formally launch that service, and on 1 October, next Thursday, the service will be fully operational and will provide emergency rescue and medical evacuation for approximately 750,000 people living in the ACT and the surrounding region.

This is the last opportunity before that day to make some comments on that. I think it is worth while recording formally in Hansard the great appreciation that I have for the very considerable help from a number of dedicated people for the creation of this service. This will be a vitally important service. It is, quite literally, vital. It will save the lives of a number of people in the coming months and years and I am very pleased that it has been provided, notwithstanding some considerable struggle to get to this point.

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