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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1347 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I think it is important for us not to talk down those things which have been potentially at least very successful for the ACT community in respect of the creation of jobs. The commitments are in the contract. We will expect them to be met in full or the consequences that flow from the contract ought to flow-that is, for moneys that have been loaned to Impulse to be repaid.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I understand from advice received in my office today that there is absolutely no prospect of the call centre, for instance, proceeding. If that is the case, and if that is the advice that the government has, will the government demand repayment at least of the funds that have already been paid that would have been relevant to that particular initiative? Having regard to the dramatically changed nature of the arrangement-the fact that the arrangement the ACT government entered into with Impulse has now basically been completely overridden by the new arrangements-has the government considered demanding the return of the full $8 million?

MR HUMPHRIES: I think I have already answered this question, Mr Speaker. I have made clear that it has not been overridden. At least it is not clear to me that that is the case. If Mr Stanhope has information which is not available to the ACT government, he can put it on the table. But Impulse's public statement was that they would stand by the commitments they have made to the ACT government and, indeed, commitments they have made to the Tasmanian government and the Commonwealth government in a joint statement issued by both Impulse and Qantas.

So I do not know what information Mr Stanhope relies on to say they are not going to fulfil their obligations. If you would like to tell us what that information is, we would be happy to investigate it. We intend to put to Impulse and Qantas, assuming that Qantas is now de facto a party in this, that those obligations should be carried out or the territory's money refunded.

PALM funding

MR CORBELL: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, Budget Paper No 2, at page 30, reveals something that has not been broadly outlined by the government in its usual range of budget press releases, and that is a $600,000 cut to the Planning and Land Management group. Minister, how will a $600,000 budget cut to PALM assist in restoring the community's confidence in the territory's planning process and how many staff will be lost as a result of this budget measure?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, if Mr Corbell would like to go to page 184 of Budget Paper No 4 he will find under the heading "Other expenses" an item that for this current year is valued at $500,000 of expenses and next year at zero. It is actually the money that we have been using to change the arrangements inside PALM that have been going on for some three years to give better service to the people of Canberra as well as achieving efficiencies. That change management program is basically finished and, hence, it no longer needs the funding.

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