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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1433 ..

Questions without notice

Impulse Airlines

MR STANHOPE: My question is to the minister for business development. According to minutes of its meeting of 14 March 2000, when the ACT government's business incentive scheme panel considered the application for assistance from Impulse Airlines, it was told the Victorian government was actively engaged in trying to attract the airline to that state. I quote from the minutes:

The Panel was informed that the Victorian Government was prepared to provide $10 million in a cash grant and tax concessions for the operation to be based in Victoria.

This information was also passed directly to the then Chief Minister in a minute from her department dated 10 March 2000. The Chief Minister was told:

Impulse has an offer on the table from Victoria.

I understand that that minute went on to reveal that the offer on the table constituted $10 million in incentives. Can the minister say whether the government, or any of its officers, ever in fact saw the formal offer? Has the government had any contact with its Victorian counterpart over the supposed Victorian offer? Would the minister be surprised to learn that in fact the Victorian government made no offer at all to Impulse, as indicated in a letter from the premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, which I seek leave to table, for the information of members. It is about negotiations with Impulse Airlines.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: I present the following paper:

Impulse Airlines-Copy of letter from Steve Bracks MP, Premier to Mr J Stanhope, Leader of the Opposition, dated 8 June 2000.

MR SMYTH: I was not the minister at that time. I will have to seek advice-

Opposition members interjecting-

MR SMYTH: The point of questions with notice is to ask questions. If you ask a question about a meeting that occurred when I was not the minister, a meeting that I did not attend, how can I answer? I cannot possibly answer. I was not there. Mr Stanhope is allowed questions, and he has asked me for some information. I will now go and seek that information for him. Some members very kindly give us notice of questions that we can have no idea about.

Mr Corbell: It is called questions without notice.

MR SMYTH: Mr Corbell interjects that it is questions without notice. That is true. He is very astute. I am being asked about something that I cannot possibly have any knowledge of, firstly, because I was not the minister and, secondly, because I did not attend that meeting. I am happy to take the question on notice.

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