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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (31 August) . . Page.. 2584 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I want to correct Mr Berry on his financial acumen, or lack thereof. He attributes the better operating result in the ACT, the very impressive financial result that we are now moving towards, to what he calls "bleeding ACTEW white". I suppose we cannot be surprised when he is the man who brought us VITAB and Working Capital, but he should know, if he speaks to Mr Quinlan, that any borrowings undertaken from ACTEW do not affect the balance sheet. If we borrow money from ACTEW, we still have to record the borrowings of ACTEW as a liability on our balance sheet. Our liquidity is not affected. Mr Kaine asked about liquidity the other day. Borrowing from ACTEW does not affect our bottom line at all in that respect, or very little, indeed as would borrowing from outside directly off the market. It is a pity that Mr Berry does not understand that. I think, quite frankly, it is a lost cause, so I will not bother to lecture him on the subject. Would you trust this Government with your money? "Certainly not", says Mr Berry. That is a bit rich coming from the man who brought us the VITAB scandal, but that is what we have come to expect.

It is important to record that this Government is determined to continue to provide a hospice in the ACT. It was the Alliance Government which initiated the building of a hospice in the ACT. That, members might recall, was to be funded from the savings generated by the closure of the old Royal Canberra Hospital. The savings were dedicated in part to the building of the hospice. It was very much the government led by Mr Kaine that initiated the process of getting a hospice up and running in the ACT. Mr Moore, as the present Minister for Health, has made it unequivocally clear that the Government will continue to provide a hospice to the people of Canberra and that the issue is not whether but where.

It has to be put on the record that the inevitability of a move from the Acton site was confirmed the day that the former Federal Labor Government indicated that it wanted to build the National Museum of Australia on Acton Peninsula. From that day forward, it was clear to everybody in the world, except perhaps Mr Berry and Mr Stanhope, that the hospice would have to shift off Acton Peninsula sooner or later. That time has now come.

Mr Stanhope: It was still our land. It was still territory land until the Chief Minister gave it away.

MR HUMPHRIES: The Chief Minister and the Prime Minister of the day, Mr Keating - - -

Mr Stanhope: Mr Howard.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, not Mr Howard - Mr Keating. They agreed to this land swap. It was fulsomely supported by the Federal Labor Government of the day. As I seem to recall, Mr Stanhope had some connection with that government. What was it? He was a senior legal adviser to that government, was he not, Mr Speaker? Perhaps I have misled you. He can correct me if I have misrepresented his position.

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