Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1386 ..
MR OSBORNE (continuing):
Mr Speaker, in 1994 when the Raiders did win the grand final I believe the turnover for the organisation was something like $4m or $5m. I know that to meet some of the private sector aspects of the redevelopment, the costs, this consultant suggested that they certainly would be able to exceed that. The thing that concerned me at the time was that some senior public servants were taking what this consultant had to say in relation to Bruce Stadium as gospel. I know for a fact that both the Raiders and the Brumbies at various times told senior public servants that this bloke had no idea, that some of the figures that were being bandied about were pie in the sky, were just not achievable. I recall being in the company of some of these people from both organisations when they laughed at some of the things that the Government was taking on board. That is regrettable, Mr Speaker. Although there is a tremendous facility out there, I think that the smart people in this Government, the people at the top of OFM, have become involved far too late. I have complete faith in the Under Treasurer on this matter, but I think that it has just been a matter of him becoming involved after the horse has bolted - in fact, I suggest after the horse has run about 500 or 600 kilometres.
Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that Bruce Stadium is a tremendous facility. There is no doubt that it needed an upgrade. My concern all along has been that the ratepayer is going to be stuck with the vast majority of the cost of the redevelopment of the stadium. I have had many discussions with some of the corporate sponsors, especially in relation to the Raiders, who in the past years have bought boxes at Bruce Stadium. They laugh at me when I ask them whether they have bought one this year. They have said to me on many occasions that it is just way out of their league. It costs around $50,000 for a facility at Bruce Stadium. In the past they could have picked a small one up for between $10,000 and $15,000. I think all of us here would acknowledge that Bruce Stadium is a tremendous facility. I do not think any of us do not want it to work. But, quite clearly, some of the information that was provided to some of the senior public servants involved in this project, especially in the early days, needs to be looked at.
Mr Speaker, on many occasions I have spoken in this place about my concern over the use of the term commercial-in-confidence. I think that it is used far too much. I have on the table a piece of legislation in relation to freedom of information, which I have been very interested in for a number of years. Quite clearly, I am a believer in things being out in the open. That is why I will be supporting this motion. I had a discussion with the Chief Minister today in relation to her concerns over some of the legal aspects of releasing some of this information. That is why I am more inclined than not to support an extension for when this information has to be tabled so that she can seek some legal advice. But at the end of the day the argument would need to be very strong to stop its being tabled because I think the people of Canberra, especially those of us in the Assembly, deserve to know exactly what has happened at Bruce Stadium. (Extension of time granted)
I think the worst-case scenario will be that the Government will come back and say, "Look, the reality is that we will have to pay for most of this as the private sector aspect of the redevelopment, the money that they were supposed to put in, just is not there". I think that is going to be what will happen, but I do believe that the information does need to be in the arena. I have heard the arguments about specifically the Raiders and the Brumbies. I am sure that they have been directed at me, Mr Speaker. I must say that my