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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1425 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

about who had contacted whom about an appropriate sponsor for the championship in the ACT? What a mess it was! It was all tied up with FAI Insurance and, of course, FAI Insurance has somewhat disappeared off the map, seemingly drawn into the vortex of HIH Insurance, which is now in a state of collapse. That collapse will also impact on the ACT because HIH Insurance covers us or does not cover us for the impacts of the hospital implosion; there is going to be a legal argument about whether it covers us.

These little blunders all seem to link together and they all paint a map of incompetence about this government. These sorts of events merely strengthen the argument that the time is well and truly past for this government. The Rally of Canberra is setting itself up for this weekend's round. I hope that it will be very successful. It is an event that has many supporters in the ACT. It is one that has been carried out in the ACT for many years and brings good publicity to the ACT. I do not think that it gets the interstate support it deserves. That is merely an issue of my own preference, I suppose. I think that it is pretty good entertainment to follow these sorts of rallies and I thing that we could get more out of this one, but it takes good management to get something out of these rallies. The amount of money that goes into the Rally of Canberra pales into insignificance with the amount of money that goes into the V8 car race. I suppose one could also draw comparisons between what goes into the V8 car race and what is put into local motor sport.

While on the subject of motor sport, I was involved recently in a request of the government for funds to do a preliminary assessment of a site which has been found for drag racing in the ACT. We know that it was because of the inaction of this government that drag racing lost its venue in the ACT. If this government had acted in the interests of drag racing and motor sport in the ACT, that venue would still be operating. But the government did not; it acted in the interests of the airport. The government forgot about its obligations to the wider community.

Several million dollars have been lost to a community motoring organisation because of that failure to act. I know that the minister will bowl in here and spout that he has been vindicated by the courts. All the courts said was that he did not do anything illegal. But what the courts did point out in the course of all of the proceedings about the matter was that this government had failed to act in support of drag racing in the ACT. If the government had been listening and had any conscience about the consequences of its inaction over the drag racing site I am sure that, along with the $100,000 of additional funding to the Rally of Canberra, we would have seen $40,000, $50,000 or $60,000 being appropriated to help the drag racing people find a new site. Incidentally, Mr Speaker, drag racing has been responsible over the years for bringing millions upon millions of tourism dollars into the ACT without any significant-

Mr Humphries: I cannot resist myself, Mr Speaker. We are talking about the second appropriation bill. There is no appropriation there for drag racing. I would ask Mr Berry to try to focus, if he can, on the bill. I know that there is not much to talk about in the bill, but what are we talking about here?

MR SPEAKER: Order! I have had a look at this matter and, unfortunately, standing order 58 (b) states that, on the motion for agreement in principle to appropriate bills for the ordinary annual services of the executive, matters relating to public affairs may be debated. I am afraid that I cannot do much about it.

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