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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 2742 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

The private-public partnership and regional solution also provide a platform for tremendous regional economic growth. Mr Deputy Speaker, as I asked earlier, are we game enough to accept this challenge? I believe that we have to be if we are serious about representing the ambitions of the people not only of this great Territory but also of the region of New South Wales which surrounds it. Let us talk to the Commonwealth right now. The decision-makers and the movers and shakers must not be allowed to make their decisions without being fully aware of what we have to offer. This may be the greatest opportunity yet for us to leave a real and lasting legacy for the future of the region as we move into the next millennium. Let us not miss it.

MR QUINLAN (4.49): Firstly, I congratulate Mr Hird, who continues to shine on the government side in the area of policy examination and development, if not creation. We witness that in his incisive questions at question time and his frequent dissenting reports to committees, erudite and well-constructed dissenting reports. To give a little perspective, I understand that the concept of a very fast train to Canberra predates the introduction of local government for the ACT. It has, I think, enjoyed universal support from the outset.

There are, of course, a number of sceptics who question the ultimate viability of the train and therefore the probability that it will actually eventuate. However, few Canberrans, if any, are against its construction and few, if any, need to be convinced that it carries great potential for bringing economic benefit to the ACT. It is one of those attractive projects that a politician or government might be drawn to embrace ostentatiously, particularly a politician or a government that depends upon continued contrived image projection more than real substance.

When this motion first appeared upon the notice paper, I assumed that it had been brought forward by Mr Hird as a vehicle for some government announcement on the progress towards the introduction of the train or some further developments with the airport. If that is the case, let us get on with that announcement, shall we.

Ms Carnell: We did this week - Bishop Austrans.

MR QUINLAN: I did suspect that it might have been contrived to set up a bidding war as to who supports the train most and for the Chief Minister to claim credit for the fact that trains go pretty quickly these days. Anyway, since last week, we have witnessed a burst of publicity that has put the VFT on the front pages of the newspapers and on the television, so I trust I can rest my mind that things are normal in this place and are occurring as they normally occur. I hope that it was not simply an exercise that will degenerate into a session of self-indulgence on private members day, with someone saying, "Our support is bigger than yours". The continual attempts to attract prime credit for these projects are nothing short of propaganda.

The ALP wholeheartedly supports the introduction of the VFT. Who does not? In fact, I have an earlier version of a schematic of the airport and the train station hanging on my office wall and it has hung there for more than a year. In terms of the train itself, some of us may have liked to have seen Maglev stay in the forefront of the race to construct the facility. We realise that Maglev is more costly, but it does offer

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