Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2188 ..
Mr Moore: With the wisdom of hindsight.
MR BERRY: Yes. Well, the deal was a good one when it was first done, and it was undercut by the Chief Minister. Let us get history in its proper order. In, I think, the 1992 election, both political parties had a commitment to retaining some buildings on that site, and I think Mr Moore did too. As the then Minister, I persisted with the promise from the Labor Party to ensure that that commitment to the community in the ACT was delivered. I had the support of Mr Moore in respect of that. Later on in the show, of course, Mrs Carnell came on the scene and strenuously opposed it. She strenuously opposed it on the basis that it was uneconomic to have the hospice on the site, not much more. It was carping opposition for opposition's sake because it was a great proposal, it was supported by most members of the Assembly, and it was welcomed by the community. I was unlucky enough not to be able to be there as Minister for its opening, but I take full credit for the siting of the hospice at the time, and its five years of operation which, incidentally, began after I left the ministry. Its course has been a successful one, welcomed and applauded by all.
There are many of us who would know somebody who has availed themselves of the service that is provided by the Little Company of Mary, and I have not heard a criticism about it. It was a decision which was supported by all. But later on there was a dark cloud on the horizon. The Chief Minister, a well-known opponent of the positioning of the hospice there, engaged in negotiations with the then Keating Government in relation to that site. Also bear in mind that the NCPA, or whatever it was called by then, had continually played a funny little game to stop the hospice being placed on the site. Nobody really ever knew why they were trying to stop it being placed on the site.
Mr Moore: It would have been a nice clean site for the museum.
MR BERRY: But the museum was not in the picture then. Bear in mind that the museum was going to be at Yarramundi Reach.
Mr Moore: I do not think the National Capital Planning Authority - - -
MR BERRY: Well, the National Capital Planning Authority might not have thought that was where it was going, but everybody else did. During the debate on the Kingston/Acton land swap - that land swap which has cost us millions of dollars, of course - the hospice was a forgotten casualty. Bear in mind that Mrs Carnell went in opposing the positioning of the hospice on that site. It is not surprising that she forgot about it and that she did not argue or run a tough line on keeping it there because she had earlier opposed it. It was, I am told, excised in one particular plan, but I have noticed, on all plans that I have seen of the national museum, that the little site for the hospice has been carved out. There is absolutely no reason why it has to move. The building is protected. It will always be there. There is no reason for it to be moved. We find out today that the Commonwealth is charging us rent for it.
Now, surely those are the sorts of things that should have been taken into account when the negotiations were going on in relation to that land swap. No. The hospice was abandoned because Mrs Carnell wanted it off there because she always argued that, and