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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 959 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, we will be responding in full to the capital works report. Again I make the point that it would have been nice to see some consistency in dealing with the Ainslie Public School and the Belconnen pool issue, two issues that it seems members were very interested in. I might leave my other comments either to my colleagues or to our final response.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.49): I would be happy for Mr Hird to have leave to speak again to defend his report from that terrible attack on his integrity and his chairmanship of the committee. I just wish to reiterate some of the points and comments made by the speakers, in particular my colleague Mr Corbell. I think this is a good report. I think it is a good report, Mr Hird. I would not send you to the corner with a conical hat on your head as your leader sought to do to you. I think it is a good report. I think it does seek to provide a reasonable, balanced and objective explanation of the range of issues covered in the capital works program, and I am gracious and generous enough, Mr Hird, to commend you for your efforts in bringing down this unanimous report with other members of the Assembly.

Having said that, there are a number of issues in relation to capital works that the committee quite rightly has focused on and it is appropriate that we look at some of those. We do not need, in an examination of this report, to be distracted as the Chief Minister has sought to distract us by a long dissertation on the budget and the impact on the budget. This was an examination by the Urban Services Committee of the draft capital works program, and it was appropriate in the context of that examination and this committee's brief that it do precisely what it did, and that was look at the process that has been employed in relation to a range of issues. There is some very interesting discussion and commentary on a whole range of matters that are of deep and abiding interest to the people of Canberra.

The issues covered in this report are basically issues that affect the day-to-day lives of the people of Canberra, and some of these issues are tremendously important to almost all Canberrans. I propose to focus on a number of the recommendations on which there is significant community debate and on which there has been some debate in this place, and it is appropriate that we continue to focus on those.

Comment has already been made by both Mr Corbell and Mr Rugendyke about the sorry saga of the Belconnen aquatic centre, and we should not be distracted by the Chief Minister's attempts to deflect criticism of her for breaking a significant election promise on the basis that there is no business study available for the Belconnen aquatic centre or the Belconnen pool. The promise made by Mrs Carnell and the Liberals at the last election was not made conditional upon the outcomes of a so-called business study. It was a direct promise to the people of Canberra and specifically to the people of Belconnen that there would be an aquatic centre in Belconnen, and that construction should, by now, be under way. Everybody knows, to the shame of the Government and the Liberal Party, and to the great embarrassment of the Minister who twice turned the sod in the election campaign, that that promise has simply been unutterably broken. That is the fact of the matter. It has been unutterably broken, and that is to the shame of those opposite.

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