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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1896 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Defence makes it quite clear that it is Commonwealth land and it is their responsibility. They go on to say:

The new owner of Canberra airport, Canberra International Airport, has announced it is proposing changes in the operation of the airport. Following meetings late last year with Canberra International Airport, the National Capital Authority, Air Services Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Defence, it was determined that the configuration of the dragway to the east-west runway would, in the longer term, present an unacceptable risk to air safety.

For this reason, a five year lease was offered to Canberra International Dragway, and in view of its three year planning horizon, this should enable the dragway sufficient time to meet its current planned activities and consider future options. I should emphasise that the decision to close the facility and cancel events has been made solely by Canberra International Dragway.

Defence is conscious of the value of the dragway to members and the local economy. It is prepared to enter into a five year lease to allow the dragway to remain in its current location while the issue of a new location which does not impinge on future airport operations is negotiated between the Canberra International Dragway and the ACT Government.

Yours sincerely

It was signed for Ross Bain, Assistant Secretary, Property Management. This letter is dated 25 March 1999.

Mr Corbell: When was the meeting?

MR SMYTH: The gentleman from Defence does not say when this meeting was, unfortunately. I just read the letter. You did not hear me say a date.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, it is quite poignant really that after a day of arguing about illegal advice and illegal activity and whether you should get advice or whether you should not get advice, the advice I have is that I have done everything under my power to assist the dragway. I and my office, and officers from the department, have rung the Minister for Defence's office, faxed them information and have sent letters. I think we have lobbied the Minister for Finance as well. We have done everything in our power to urge the Commonwealth to look favourably upon the dragway. I understand that Mr Corbell has not even managed to dash off a letter to the Minister for Defence expressing his concerns. He could confirm that or deny it.

Mr Corbell raised the issue of Mrs Carnell's letter. Mrs Carnell was approached by a constituent. I do not happen to have a copy of that letter but my memory of it, and I say this late on a very long day, is that the issues that were raised by the Canberra International Airport were issues of air safety. You see, this Government is concerned

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