Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 956 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
The cut in funding to the Boboyan pines plantation rehabilitation is also of great concern because, unlike built structures, this type of work is subject to direct environmental impacts. The early work of clearing this plantation could be wasted because of these funding delays as it has allowed weed infestation and soil erosion to occur in the area which may require even more money to address later on.
Turning to other specific projects highlighted in the committee's report, the saga over the ownership of ACT streetlights is of great concern. The Government needs to clarify whether it is still intending to sell the streetlights or not, and what the impacts are on current and future budgets. I have already mentioned the Ainslie Public School debacle, and I agree with the committee's view that the Government has followed a sloppy process and that a full business case and feasibility study need to be undertaken before any more funds are expended on the conversion of the building to a craft centre.
It was interesting to note that there are a number of projects mentioned in the report which impact on the provision of new roads to link Gungahlin to the rest of Canberra. These are the upgrading of the Barton Highway south of Gungahlin Drive, the provision of more Bruce Stadium car parking and its impact on the western alignment of the John Dedman Parkway, the Horse Park Drive/Majura Road/Federal Highway intersection, and the upgrading of the Majura Road. There is an obvious need to bring discussion of these projects together so that they can be assessed in the context of an overall transport strategy for North Canberra. This was obviously beyond the scope of this inquiry but it points to the need for the type of broader inquiry envisaged in my private members motion on the John Dedman Parkway which, hopefully, will be debated tomorrow.
The committee's raising of the problems faced by community groups who occupy government owned buildings which are not being adequately maintained is of great concern. I fully agree with the committee's recommendation that a long-term strategy needs to be developed to maintain these assets so that community service agencies can continue to provide a high standard of service delivery.
Turning to facilities being provided for sporting activities, such as the money going into hockey fields, a new mountain bike track and the previous year's expenditure on rugby league and rugby union facilities, it is unclear what process is being followed to determine which sports get priority for funding. There needs to be a more objective, strategic and transparent process in this area also.
I hope that the Government takes notice of the strong comments made in this report and fully responds to them in its finalisation of the 1999-2000 capital works budget.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (11.41): Mr Speaker, obviously the Government will be responding in full to this report in the future at some stage but I thought it important to make a couple of comments today with regard to some comments that members of the committee have made. First, in regard to process, I am pleased that Mr Hird made the point that there has been an improvement in process. Certainly, that is the case over the last few years. In fact, previous capital works committees have made that point.