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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 2565 ..

MR SPEAKER: I certainly uphold your comment, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. It is nice to have your indulgence instead of theirs. Minister, with the acceptance of the new four-year industrial agreement between ACTION workers and the Government, 28 employees will be transferred from the maintenance workshops to full-time driving. Do you believe that safety has been compromised? Furthermore, will the ACTION service be under threat due to the reduced number of employees working on the maintenance of vehicles?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I am aware of concerns that have been raised by some of the workshop staff. The answer simply is no; we will never compromise safety or the mechanical reliability of our fleet.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I thank the Minister for that undertaking. Let us just hope that he is right. My supplementary question is this: Can the Minister confirm that the gradual downsizing of the maintenance workshops indicates that the Government has plans to have private companies perform that work?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, as part of the EBA, a business review group will be established that will review all the workshop core and non-core maintenance practices. Management and staff of ACTION will have involvement in that, and that is to proceed after the new EBA is signed.

Rural Residential Development

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, through you, I ask a question of the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, at the last sitting you tabled what you described as an independent discussion paper on future rural residential development in the Territory. I do not quite know how it can be independent. It was commissioned by the Department of Urban Services. But we will let that pass. That document deals comprehensively with the possibility of rural residential development, covering such matters as planning, environment, bushfire management, landscape issues, heritage and cultural issues, servicing and access issues. Minister, would you not agree that, had that document been on the table before the Government proceeded with the ill-advised and ill-fated Kinlyside development earlier in the year, the outcome for the developer might have been far more satisfactory than it turned out to be at the time?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, no.

MR KAINE: You do not? So this document is useless? That is not a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. This is: Minister, I must say that I find your comment astonishing. But now, having got this document on the table, will you assure the Assembly that any future land releases under these arrangements will be by open tender and not by the secret selection method which was used in connection with Kinlyside?

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