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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2385 ..

Canberra International Dragway

MR BERRY: My question is to the Treasurer. Yesterday the Government introduced an Appropriation Bill that includes $7m for a V8 supercar race, which will have a significant impact on the ACT economy, by way of the appropriation and, if you take any notice of the Government's claims, the outcome. The Government has made the decision to go ahead with it anyway. We hope it succeeds, but, on performance, we reserve our rights, I think. At the same time, the Government's intransigence over the lease for the Canberra International Dragway will cost the Territory, in terms of its tourism industry, $2m per annum - money which would come to the ACT at no cost to the Government, no cost to the Territory taxpayer. On 25 March, Mr Speaker, in this Assembly, the then Treasurer, Mrs Carnell, said, "If those opposite want to join us in writing to the Commonwealth to get them to extend the lease, I would be in it". She said that. Is the new Treasurer going to fulfil this unfulfilled commitment of his predecessor and secure a continuing benefit to the tourism industry of $2m per annum, and significant job opportunities and income to the tourism industry, which comes at no cost to the Territory taxpayer or to the Government?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Berry sends a very ambiguous signal about the Opposition's view about this particular V8 supercar race. He says he hopes it succeeds, but the signal he sends to the rest of the community is one of great reluctance, great concern, and opposition to the Government's proposal - nothing but negative comments. I heard Mr Berry say yesterday that the Opposition has said nothing negative at all; that it was very positive about unemployment figures. It is funny that every time the Opposition gets quoted in the newspaper, or on the TVs, or on the radios, it is always having a go at the Government about unemployment figures and why something is wrong with them from some point of view or another. Mr Berry, if you want to speak clearly on behalf of your electorate and your constituents you should make clear where you stand on this particular proposal.

Mr Corbell: The dragway?

Mr Berry: Oh, the dragway. I think you should sign up for it straightaway.

MR SPEAKER: Sit down.

MR HUMPHRIES: The Government has made a decision about V8s. It has looked at the evidence available to us. We have indicated very clearly that we think this is a worthwhile concept, and we have put in a serious - - -

Mr Corbell: What are you doing for the dragway?

Mr Stanhope: We are talking about the dragway.

Mr Berry: He won't answer the question.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I really don't feel like shouting over those opposite.

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