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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1502 ..

Bruce Stadium

MR HIRD: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer, Mrs Carnell. I refer to the Government's decision to borrow funds via the Central Financing Unit in relation to the Bruce Stadium redevelopment. Can the Treasurer tell the parliament when the laws allowing these kinds of financial arrangements were first introduced within the ACT Government?

MS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Hird, for that question because, fairly obviously, it is important in this area to get some facts onto the table. Mr Speaker, if there is one thing that we all agree on about the loan for Bruce Stadium it is that the Labor Party and, I have to say, its newest ally, Trevor Kaine, do not care terribly much about the details of what has actually happened as long as they can attack me. I can understand that, particularly from two parties which have demonstrated that the only way they know that they can get at the Government is to have a go at personalities. We have seen that again today. In fact, Mr Speaker, it has been fascinating over recent weeks, with obviously no issues on the table, to see motions having a go at Mr Smyth and Mr Moore - and at Mr Humphries today. On they go, Mr Speaker, just straight personal attacks. That always shows that an opposition is simply bereft of any ideas or any direction. We certainly saw that today when the Opposition had their supposed day in the sun - the day when they respond to the Government's budget by putting their ideas on the table as the alternative government.

Mr Berry: I rise to a point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not think Mr Hird asked any questions about today's events.

MS CARNELL: I know that you are embarrassed, Mr Berry.

Mr Berry: No, I just want to hear an answer to the question, too.


MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I am well aware of what the question was about and will proceed to answer it. Mr Speaker, there are some people in this Assembly who are actually interested in the history behind loans transactions by the ACT Government and it is for them that I put this information on the table. Mr Speaker, we now know that the transaction involving Bruce Stadium by this Government was not the first where funds were not specifically appropriated. It happened under the Labor Party. In fact, it happened five years ago under the former Labor Government. In 1993, a $1.5m loan was made to ACT Forests. We now know - - -

Mr Quinlan: Paid back the next day, of course!

MS CARNELL: No, it was never paid back, or interest paid, and it was not appropriated. Mr Speaker, we now know that this loan was not specifically appropriated by the Legislative Assembly. In fact, I have spent a bit of time over the last 24 hours looking at this particular transaction, and the more I read, I have to say, the more interesting it becomes.

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