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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2022 ..



I present the Government's Response to the Standing Committee on Urban Services Report Number 22 on the Draft Capital Works Program for 1999-2000.

I wish to thank the Committee for its work and co-operation in considering the draft program.

Mr Speaker, the Committee made twenty-seven recommendations. All but four of these recommendations have been agreed to by the Government.

One of the more important concerns of the Committee, and of the government, is the incidence of incomplete projects and projects which have not commenced, being carried over from year to year. The Government, in collaboration with its agencies, is developing strategies to reduce the backlog of capital works each year, and reforms already introduced are assisting with this process. The reforms include a requirement that all Minor New Works be completed in the year of approval and all other new works be substantially complete by 30 June.

Mr Speaker, it is also important to recognise that projects can be unexpectedly delayed and the importance of having projects that can be easily substituted into the program. For this reason the Government is answering the Committee's concerns by doubling the number of forward design projects to twenty in the 1999-2000 Draft Capital Works Program. Allowing this substitution will ensure that the level of planned expenditure for the year is met and project design is commenced as early as possible.

A recommendation was also made by the Committee that the budget for the construction of an ACT prison be adjusted to take account of the latest estimates.

I can inform the Standing Committee and the Assembly, that the Justice and Community Safety Committee is presently considering all options in relation to the construction of a prison in the ACT. The Government's preference is for a privately financed and privately owned facility. An estimate of total construction costs and the financing requirement of $32m and $12m respectively have been included in the draft program to reflect the best estimate of how much activity this project will add to the Capital Works program in 1999-2000. This addresses previous concerns about the impact of off budget and privately financed projects not being transparent in the Government's program.

Mr Speaker, the Government confirmed its intention in May of this year that it will proceed with the construction of an indoor pool at Belconnen. At a total cost of $8m, the facility will include a 50 metre pool, seating for 800 people, timing equipment, an address system, and a smaller warm up pool. An opportunity will exist for small Canberra

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