Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1221 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
Mr Speaker, the only reason that Mr Smyth had a copy of the petition was that Mr Develin from the dragway did him the courtesy - I must say courtesy that was not reciprocated by the Minister - of providing the Minister with a copy of the petition.
Mr Speaker, that was quite clearly a terrible response by the Minister and, I have to say, a very disappointing one. He can sit there and tut-tut and he can sit there and play high and mighty on this matter, but quite clearly the actions of the ACT Government have contributed to the closure of the dragway. Mr Smyth's inaction in this regard is potentially exposing the Territory to millions of dollars in compensation claims. I think that the Minister needs to treat this matter a little more seriously than he has to date. The Labor Party and I, as planning spokesman, will continue to pursue this matter on behalf of the dragway. It is an important issue. The ACT Government, which talks so much about jobs and which talks so much about certainty in planning, has behaved abominably in this issue, and we will continue to hold them to account in that regard.
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (6.05): Mr Speaker, I rise to speak on two matters. Mr Corbell should have continued to read Mr Develin's press release. The selective quoting in this place is quite amazing. The press release goes on to say after he stopped:
The petition calls upon the Federal Government to honour its commitments regarding the Dragway lease.
Mr Corbell walks away. I would walk away in shame as well. Mr Corbell has done Mr Develin a serious disservice and has done this place a disservice because his media alert - in fact, it is not a media alert, it is a "meda" alert, a m-e-d-a alert, and I might seek to have it incorporated into Hansard - says that the petition was "from representatives of the Canberra International Dragway calling on the ACT Government to honour its commitments and act to help reopen the dragway". Yet Mr Develin's press release says that the petition - his petition - "calls upon the Federal Government to honour its commitments regarding the Dragway lease". Mr Corbell should apologise to the dragway people for misrepresenting them in this manner. Mr Corbell's media alert goes on to say:
Planning Minister Brendan Smyth has refused to accept the petition.
Mr Corbell again does Mr Develin a disservice because Mr Develin did ring and ask whether I could meet with him and accept the petition. I told him that I was not available, but if he wanted to bring a copy to the office I would be delighted to accept and forward it to the Federal Government. I will deliver this petition to the Federal Government because it is they who are responsible and it is they who should know. I seek leave to incorporate the two press releases, Mr Speaker.