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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1897 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

about the dragway and we are certainly concerned about air safety. These are both very important issues. One is not mutually exclusive of the other in this case. I do not have a copy of Mrs Carnell's letter with me, but she passed on the concerns of a constituent to the relevant authorities, as we all do.

The issue of the dragway was caused by the changeover of government from the Federal Government to self-government in 1989. The body that was issuing leases was, I understand, issuing leases for both the Federal Government and the Territory Government until the functions were properly devolved. As for the lease itself, this is where it gets tricky for me, because we have a situation where much of this may be considered to be sub judice by the courts. The lease asks me to make statements that, on legal advice, I am told I cannot do. It is a vexed issue. It is about to be solved in the court.

The legal advice I have is that I have done everything that I can do to assist the club. We have said that we will assist the club should they wish to move. We will work with them to find another suitable site, if such a site can be found in the ACT, because we understand the value of the dragway to the ACT. As is clearly outlined in the letter from Mr Bain of the Department of Defence, the dragway is on Commonwealth owned land that is managed by the Department of Defence. I have control over neither the Commonwealth nor the Department of Defence. That is why I move the following amendment which has been circulated in my name:

Paragraphs (3) and (4), omit all words after "activities".

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hird): Do members have the amendment moved by Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: Yes, it has been circulated. For the reasons given, the Government does support the activities of the Canberra dragway. The issue really is between the dragway and the Federal Government. It is not because of the failure of the ACT Government. I have already fulfilled all my obligations that my legal advice tells me that I can.

MR CORBELL (10.13): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I wish to speak to the amendment. This amendment is not acceptable in the view of the Labor Opposition. The reason for that is that what it essentially does is excuse the ACT Government from any responsibility. Let me make my point perfectly clear.

We do not dispute that the lease the dragway holds is a lease issued by the Department of Defence. Nor do we dispute the fact that the dragway is on land controlled by the Department of Defence. Those issues are not in dispute. What members have to understand is that this lease for the dragway is fairly unique in terms of leases in the ACT. It is unique because it was issued - - -

Mr Moore: Have you been through the legal argument?

MR CORBELL: I would appreciate it if members gave me some courtesy. The lease was issued by the Department of Defence to the dragway, but in the lease there were provisions that gave certain responsibilities and obligations to the ACT Government. So there is a role for the ACT Government and it is written into the dragway's lease. That is

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