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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1508 ..

MR HARGREAVES: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I thank the Minister for his puerile and childish response. Perhaps the Minister ought to go and play in one of those dud playgrounds. My supplementary question is: Does the Minister not think that the $575,000 allocated for the new year party would be better off spent on fixing up a further 29 playgrounds ahead of schedule? Does this Government place a higher priority on parties than on the safety of our kids?

MR SMYTH: Mr Hargreaves should get off the slippery slide to obscurity and oblivion because questions like that are patently silly. When these playgrounds were built they met the standard of the time. As such, it is quite legitimate for them to be still there, as is any old car built to a different standard. Cars built in the 1950s and 1960s are still on the road and they are quite legitimate because they were built to a standard that was required at the time. We will, however, upgrade playgrounds as quickly and efficiently as we can. We also carry out minor maintenance on the playgrounds where items are found to be defective or to be broken. We replace them as we need.

Mr Hargreaves makes a comparison with the money that we have put aside for the celebrations at the end of this year. Mr Berry also made comparison to that in one of his press releases. You are damned if you do and damned if you do not. If we said that there was no money to put aside for some sorts of festivities to herald in the new millennium, we would have been called a pack of wowsers. Come October-November, they would have been beating the drum and saying, "These people do not consider the future". Well, we have. Do you know why we consider the future, Mr Speaker? It is because we talk to the community. We talk to the community far more than they talk to the sheltered workshop that they deal with. We get out and provide services and we deliver for the people of Canberra.

Last year Urban Services ran the 12 days of Christmas program, and there was a splendid result. People were in Civic enjoying themselves, families were out at night having a good time. Class acts were coming into Canberra. We had Dorothy the Dinosaur and things that the real people of Canberra appreciate. We were building up social wellbeing, building up the social spirit, and making sure that the people of Canberra had a good time.

The wowsers of the Opposition will not be going to any New Year's Eve parties this year; they do not want New Year's Eve parties this year. Mr Speaker, all over the world parties are being organised for New Year's Eve this year. There are boat trips to the International Date Line.

Mr Moore: It is not a new year; it is a new bloody millennium.

MR SMYTH: The new bloody millennium, that is right; sorry, the new millennium. People are organising boat trips to the International Date Line so that they can see it in first and then cross over the date line and have another one 23 hours later. Mr Speaker, all over the world people are going to celebrate this significant event. I will put something on the table here. I think that it is a significant event because it is actually the 2,000th anniversary since the time of Christ. That is why people in my parish and I will be celebrating the new millennium. We see it as a special time. We see it as a time of renewal.

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