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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2328 ..

MR SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, we can play these games or we can have sensible debates in this place; I really do not mind. The information with regard to the V8s is on the table and is available to members now. Anybody who wants to speak to Mr Service or CTEC on it is more than welcome to have a full briefing. With regard to the hospice, members could say in estimates, "How much is it going to cost?". Guess what we would have to say? "We do not know at this stage". We do not know at this stage because we do not have final plans as we do not have a final site, but we believe in view of comments that the Assembly has made in recent days that the Assembly wants us to appropriate the money that we plan to spend in this financial year.

We do not have a final figure on the cost of building a new hospice. It is true that we have an approximate cost; there is no doubt about that. If members want to see the plans, guess what? There are not any. If members want to talk about the site, guess what? There is not a final site. We have put in the money that we believe will be required in this financial year. I would have to say that there would not be an awful lot of questions relevant to the $3m for the hospice in this Appropriation Bill that could be answered at this stage. Members may choose to say now that they did not actually mean that they wanted us to appropriate every dollar that we plan to spend in this financial year.

As Mr Humphries said this morning when he tabled the Bill, we could have managed these issues in a different way, but the Assembly had indicated that it wanted an appropriation for these issues. That is what we have done, and given members all of the information that exists at this stage to back up those appropriations. Three million dollars is not enough to build a hospice, but it will not be finished this financial year. We believe that it will cost just under $5m, but again we do not have a final figure, Mr Speaker.

What is this motion going to achieve? That is what members have to ask themselves when they decide how to vote this time. What information can be got in an estimates committee process that costs the taxpayers money and takes time - potentially time over the weekend, but more particularly time when, I am sure, members have other things on? It is not, as Mr Berry indicated, just about playing politics. We can play politics every day in this place.

Mr Stanhope said that he will put information about the hospice on the table in this Assembly tomorrow. He already has a motion on the notice paper that will enable him to say tomorrow whatever he wants to say about the hospice. There is no need for an estimates committee under those circumstances; you can do it tomorrow. I think it is appropriate, Mr Speaker, for members to look at what will be achieved and the cost to the taxpayer when we make decisions. When you ask that question you would have to say, "Very little more; in fact, nothing more than we have already".

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