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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 1972 ..

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth, I think we might get away from Harcourt at the moment. You might concentrate on rural residential.

MR SMYTH: Look, I am happy to get away from Harcourt Hill. I am sure that they would be happy for us to get away from Harcourt Hill because they are ashamed by it. Mr Speaker, what the Government has said in regard to rural residential is that over the next six to nine months we will do all that Mr Corbell is looking at here in his motion. We have said that in the next six to nine months we will come up with guidelines that will allow for the progression of rural residential. What they are afraid of is rural residential progressing, because they know that it is an indication that this Government gets on with the job. The true conservatives opposite simply sit there and oppose everything for opposition's sake. For political gain, they wish to slow down anything that the Government does.

Mr Corbell jumps up and he says the Government has a report that is flawed; that the report is not independent. The nature of that report - Mr Corbell knows this well - changed with the motion that was passed in May last year when the Assembly said that rural residential could go ahead in the ACT. The Assembly has said that. The true conservatives opposed it. Mr Corbell is silent now. Let him interject and say the Assembly did not give that approval. The Assembly on, I think, 28 May last year gave that approval by saying that they validated the Government - - -

Mr Corbell: The Assembly can change its mind, as you know.

MR SMYTH: He interjects, "The Assembly can change its mind". The Assembly can. I am sure the Assembly, now and in the future, will change its mind. It is the right and the role of the Assembly to do that. But Mr Corbell seeks to confuse an issue by dragging in other things. He raises the issue that the report was not independent and that the consultant had been directed. Mr Speaker, I have a letter here from the consultant. It is dated 12 March 1999, about three months ago, and it says:

I understand that an issue has arisen about the "independence" of the report. I write to confirm that at the conclusion of the project I willingly "signed off" the report on behalf of the consulting team.

As you are aware it is common and accepted practice that where a report is prepared for a private or public body, particularly where there is a lengthy time period, the topic is broad ranging, and the issues are complex that the consultant will prepare a draft for review by the client, in order to ensure that the ground has been covered and the brief satisfied. This was done. I received continuing assistance by your staff. As you know the consultancy brief was extended in the light of the Legislative Assembly's resolution of 28 May, 1998. That additional work was undertaken and the report further developed.

Listen to this, Mr Speaker. He continued:

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