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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 953 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

expenditure proposed for works to change the Belconnen bus interchange which are not related to the overall master planning process for the Belconnen Town Centre, and there is no reference to incorporating, or even dealing with, the aspects of the redevelopment of the Commonwealth office blocks in Belconnen.

You would think commonsense would dictate that you incorporate all these elements together; that you consult with the Commonwealth and with ACTION, and the Planning Authority does an overall plan on how to master plan the Belconnen Town Centre to make it a more attractive, livable space for people. That was not done. So the committee, again, has recommended to the Government that the resources should be made available for a decent and effective master plan for the Belconnen Town Centre, and that the office blocks, the aquatic centre and the interchange all be incorporated into a master plan for Belconnen. That way, we might actually start to get a decent planning outcome for the residents of that area. Our town centres are important and it would appear that the Government is neglecting the opportunities currently available to do something about it.

Mr Speaker, the committee's inquiry into the capital works program was a very rushed process and the committee has made the comment that we believe that in future years the Government should endeavour to make more time available to properly assess the capital works program. In particular, Mr Speaker, the committee has no idea what capital works are occurring in relation to CIT, ACT Housing, ACTEW or Totalcare because those are not part of the overall budget. That is disappointing, Mr Speaker. The Assembly should have an understanding of the overall expenditure on capital works whether or not it is directly budget funded. Indeed, in past years the committee has had at least the information from those agencies I have just mentioned made available. That should occur in the future.

Mr Speaker, a lot of government officials and a lot of government agencies do a hell of a lot of hard work to get their documentation right for capital works programs. I am sure that all members will get a very clear indication, from reading the report, of which agencies have done the work to justify their projects and have done the work and research to get them right. They should be commended for their efforts. It is a complex process and it is one that they have done well.

It is disappointing that there are some agencies, and some areas within agencies, that fail to do that. Indeed, in one case they provided one sentence as justification for expenditure of a quarter of a million dollars. That is simply not acceptable, and this Assembly and this committee should not have to ask those public servants and those agencies to come back with greater detail. It should be provided in the first place in accordance with the guidelines that the Government itself sets down. Mr Speaker, I commend the report to the Assembly, and I urge the Government to take up the very important recommendations that the committee has made.

MR RUGENDYKE (11.31): Mr Speaker, I rise to commend to the Assembly the report of the Standing Committee on Urban Services on the 1999-2000 draft capital works program. I would like to express my thanks to my colleagues Mr Hird and Mr Corbell and also to the committee secretary, Mr Rod Power, in compiling this report.

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