Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3205 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
The Government's position remains as I have indicated it to this Assembly. Our preference, the same as the preference of Sister Berenice, who runs the hospice, is that it should remain on Acton Peninsula. We are working as hard as we possibly can to keep it on Acton Peninsula. It is possible, Mr Stanhope, to have a range of options running at a particular time, so we are also looking at a number of sites. If the Federal Government says, "No, we will not renew your lease on the hospice on Acton Peninsula", we will have some other options. I understand, Mr Stanhope, that you have been out looking at some sites yourself, to throw in your twopenny bit's worth as to which you prefer. Generally, I think we are aware of some sites on the shores of Lake Ginninderra and near the Calvary Hospital, but no decision will be made about those. The most important thing, as far as we are concerned, is to support Sister Berenice in her stance that the hospice remain on Acton Peninsula. That is the view of the Government, that is what we want to do and that is what we are working on. That is why we have sought a joint appointment by the Chief Minister and me with the Federal Minister for Territories. We will make sure that we put our view as strongly as possible. I think it is fair to say that in the Chief Minister's meeting with Senator Macdonald he was not fully apprised of the full range of issues, so the proposed meeting becomes even more important.
MR STANHOPE: I preface my supplementary question by saying that it is my preference that the hospice remain on Acton Peninsula too. Can the Minister say whether the ACT Government, in its negotiations over the Acton-Kingston land swap, put to the Commonwealth that it should finance the relocation of the hospice should that be necessary, and can he say whether the relocation costs could be up to $5m?
MR MOORE: There have been some suggestions from within the department about relocation, but we have concentrated primarily on making sure we meet with the Minister, Senator Macdonald. When I have asked Sister Berenice - and I understand that when the Chief Minister asked about her preference during the reconstruction period she said the same thing - she has said that she wants to stay on Acton Peninsula. That is what she is interested in.
The figures I have heard, Mr Stanhope, are not as high as $5m, but certainly relocation would cost substantial sums of money. I think Mr Berry was aware of some of those costs when he made the decision to put it on the best site - I do not mind saying this to Mr Berry - in Canberra. There is no doubt that that is the best site in Canberra.
I would ask that while we continue to lobby Senator Macdonald on this issue you also lobby your Labor colleagues in the Federal Parliament - I am certainly happy to work on some of the crossbench members as well and I hope Ms Tucker will talk to the Greens members - so that they understand that we are as keen as mustard to have the hospice remain in its location on Acton Peninsula.