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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2473 ..

Report on 1998-99 Draft Capital Works Program - Government Response

MR HUMPHRIES (Acting Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (3.37): For the information of members, I present the Government's response to the Standing Committee on Urban Services Report No. 4, entitled "1998-99 Draft Capital Works Program", which was presented to the Assembly on 26 August 1998. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

I wish to thank the committee for its work and cooperation in considering the draft program. Due to the timing of the 1998-99 budget this year, the committee's recommendations were unable to be considered by the Government in the lead-up to the budget. However, it was agreed that the recommendations supported by the Government would be implemented during 1998-99.

The committee made five key recommendations. The committee recommended that details be provided on the extent of community consultation associated with projects which did not make the draft capital works program. The Government does not agree with this recommendation, because to do so would severely curtail the Government's capacity to negotiate with the community. The business case for capital works currently requires agencies to identify all community consultation. This, however, will cover only those proposals brought forward for consideration in the draft program. It does not cover those proposals still being considered within agencies. To overcome this, we believe that by providing the indicative outyear proposals to the committee we have identified the bulk, if not all, of the proposals being considered by agencies for the next four years.

A recommendation was also made by the committee that the Government act urgently to ensure that the level of expenditure devoted to maintaining and rehabilitating the ACT's roads be appropriate to ensure that the value of the asset is maintained. A strategy is to be developed during 1998-99 covering all aspects of the Territory's transport network, including roads. This will identify key priorities and include maintenance, rehabilitation and new works. The Government's asset management strategy highlights a need to improve information on the condition of roads. Priority is also being given to enhancing the management information systems to support long-term planning decisions.

The committee also recommended that the proposed Belconnen leisure centre be built. Mr Speaker, the Government has not abandoned this project. We must, however, honour the obligations under the national competition policy agreement, agreed to by the former Follett Government, to address the formal complaints made. A study into the financial viability and public benefits of the pool is to be completed in January 1999. This will allow the Government to consider the study well in advance of the 1999-2000 budget. The study will be provided to the Assembly for consideration prior to any decision being made.

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