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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1173 ..

MR WOOD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I want to acknowledge the negligence of successive Federal governments in giving adequate provision to their housing stock when they owned it. At the same time, I note a media release by Mr Albanese, assisting the Federal shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, including housing, who comments that the ACT Government has given up over $20m in the last three years in offsets, pretty much at the demand of the Federal Government, I might say. Do you agree with that $20m figure over three years, or would you provide what you regard is the actual figure that has been forgone?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of Mr Albanese's press release. I will endeavour to get hold of a copy and have a look at it. I would like to remind the Assembly that at the Special Premiers Conference recently the Chief Minister, in conjunction with the other Premiers and Chief Ministers, was able to put the case on behalf of housing across the Commonwealth for extra funding, and a pool of some $269m to offset potential losses due to the GST was gained. I think that was a tremendous outcome that the Chief Minister and her colleagues were able to achieve. It is great to see that the Federal Government will put that sort of money into public housing.

Australia-Chinese Friendship Village

MR CORBELL: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, a report published in the Beijing Daily newspaper of 29 October last year records the signing of a friendly cooperation memorandum by the Chief Minister and the Mayor of the Chinese capital, Jia Qinglin. You will have to excuse my pronunciation. Another article reports the signing of a second agreement between the Independent Group of Canberra and the Kuai Corporate Group of Beijing that is expected to see the investment of $US35m in developing an Australia-Chinese friendship village of some 200 garden houses in Canberra. The report said the village would be developed on more than 13 hectares of land and that the project would be completed in stages over one year. Can the Chief Minister inform the Assembly whether the project has proceeded? If it is to proceed, when will that occur? Has the Government received any approach over the site of the village? If so, where is that site?

MS CARNELL: This is a private sector proposal rather than one involving the Government, but I can tell Mr Corbell simply because I got a letter from the Independent Group, just this week actually, with a copy of their prospectus for this proposal, which I have to say was very impressive, Mr Speaker. In that letter it was indicated to me that the project had been slower than they had hoped in getting to the stage of a prospectus. They had had some interest from provincial Chinese governments already to set up these sorts of, I suppose, trade entities here in the ACT, which is really quite exciting, and the project was progressing. I am not sure how a decision on siting is going simply because that is not within my portfolio, but I am happy to get back to Mr Corbell on that.

I think this shows that we do have some very proactive and capable ACT companies that really are looking for new and innovative approaches. The approach here is to encourage provincial Chinese governments to set up, shall we say, offices here in the ACT to encourage incoming and outgoing trade out of Australia into their own provinces. Those who have some knowledge of the Chinese situation would know that the provincial

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