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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 950 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the committee was very much aware of the timeframe applying to the consideration of the draft capital works program. We believe that we have achieved a remarkably quick turnaround time, despite the Christmas holiday period and other committee pressures on me, particularly the superannuation inquiry. The amount of information to be absorbed was more than considerable, and time had to be made available for the community to consider the implications of the draft program. Community submissions had to be considered by the committee and public hearings had to be timetabled. Mr Speaker, the parliament generously agreed to allow a small amount of extra time for the committee to complete its task, and again I thank members for their indulgence. The committee very strongly recommends that a way be found to provide a greater timeframe, say six to seven clear weeks, for consideration of future draft capital works programs. This will not only assist the committee, it will also allow the community a greater opportunity to be involved in the process.

In closing, Mr Speaker, I would like to thank committee members for their work on the arduous task that was given to them. I thank Ministers and other members who have been involved in our deliberations. I also thank Ministers for making officials available, and I thank those officials who provided the information for my committee. I thank members of the public who presented submissions or made representations to the committee and who appeared before the committee. I particularly thank the secretary to the committee, Mr Rod Power, and other secretariat staff for the unparalleled support which they have provided to me and to the committee. I commend the report to the parliament.

MR CORBELL (11.16): Mr Speaker, this report is a comprehensive one from the Standing Committee on Urban Services and is a unanimous one. Unfortunately, Mr Speaker, I could not say the same thing as to my chairman's comments in presenting this report because he has used the opportunity in the Assembly this morning not to present entirely the views of the committee, although he made some reference to them, but instead to proclaim that all was well with the Government's draft capital works budget and to proclaim that the incredible efficiency of the Government had shone through once again. Clearly, Mr Speaker, this is not the case. If my chairman had taken the opportunity to highlight some of the more critical aspects of the report and some of the important aspects of the report which the committee has drawn the Assembly's attention to, perhaps we would have had a fairer and more accurate presentation of this report.

Mr Speaker, there are a number of recommendations in this report which need to have attention drawn to and which are of quite significant importance. My chairman failed to raise them, so I will take this opportunity to do so. The first of these relates to the Belconnen aquatic centre. I know that some of my colleagues will have something to say about this a little later in the day, as I am sure will my colleague on the committee, Mr Rugendyke. Mr Hird, as chairman of this committee, stood up and said it is not the Government's problem that the pool is not proceeding; it is the Follett Labor Government's fault because they signed the national competition policy. I do not see that reflected anywhere in the report, and for Mr Hird to stand up here today and say that that is the reason we have come out with this recommendation is quite erroneous.

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