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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1846 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I had a couple of other remarks to make, but I think I have covered the field pretty well. I think the case is well and truly made, well and truly established. I think the Chief Minister is guilty as charged, and I think the Assembly should find her so.

MR HIRD (5.09): Mr Speaker, I am saddened after listening to the remarks of my colleague Mr Kaine in this debate. It is very clear to me that there is a lot of hate and a lot of ill feeling towards our Chief Minister.

Mr Kaine: You are a comedian, Harold.

MR HIRD: It saddens me, and I dare say you, Mr Speaker, because both of us have served the people of the ACT during a period of 25 years, along with the former Chief Minister, Mr Kaine. However, more about that later, Mr Speaker.

In speaking to this motion, I think it is worth all members considering what it is that we are talking about. By that I mean the new Bruce Stadium which, as you know, falls within my electorate of Ginninderra. It is a place where tens of thousands of Canberrans and visitors from interstate go to watch their favourite teams, and, hopefully in the future, their favourite entertainment acts perform.

There has been a lot of criticism and a lot of rhetoric from those opposite. Words like fiasco and scandal have been thrown about with gay abandon. It is obvious that not once has anyone opposite actually sat down and worked out exactly what has been achieved with this redevelopment. Remember that in late 1995 the Labor Party criticised this Government for, in the words of one of their former Opposition leaders, "failing to spend money needed to upgrade Bruce". Isn't it ironic? Three years ago the Labor Party was getting stuck into us for not upgrading Bruce Stadium. Today they are getting stuck into us for doing just that. Perhaps it is because Bruce symbolises the difference between the Labor Party and this Government. With Labor it is all talk and no action. With this Government it is about making it happen, making sure the job is well done, and about providing a great facility that will benefit not only Canberra for years to come but also the region.

The benefits to Canberra and the region from the upgrading of the stadium fall into several categories. They are the direct effects of construction activity; ongoing job opportunities; the opportunity to host Olympic Games football; the retention of Canberra-based teams in national and international sporting competitions; the opportunity to attract other entertainment events; and the value for money that has been obtained in carrying out this redevelopment. I would like to talk about each of these in turn, Mr Speaker.

As we all know, a total of $34.6m has been spent on the redevelopment over a period of three years. The Office of Financial Management has estimated that this expenditure directly employed 550 people, making Bruce Stadium one of the Territory's biggest construction projects in recent years. As well, it is estimated that this will create a flow-on effect of another 225 jobs, bringing to around 775 jobs the total employment generated by this redevelopment in terms of full-time equivalent positions.

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