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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1605 ..

Prime Television

MS TUCKER: My question is directed to the Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts. I note that under the business incentive scheme in 1999-2000 the government has offered a payroll tax waiver of up to $1.25 million to Prime Television. There was a note on the interim report stating that the agreement as at 31 December last year was still under negotiation. Could the minister advise the Assembly of the status of the agreement with Prime Television, the rate at which the payroll tax exemption can be claimed and the effect that this recent loss of a valuable news service and associated employment will have on the level of support the ACT government is giving Prime Television?

MR SMYTH: There are two issues here, and the issues, although linked, are separate. The government ACTBIS grant to Prime was to help its establishment of digital TV machinery, and it was decided that that would be located here in the ACT. That is what the grant to Prime was given in relation to. Now, the issue of whether or not the newsroom is linked to that is, I think, a separate question. Prime has actually opened its digital facility-and the Chief Minister was at the opening recently-at its premises at Watson, thereby honouring its ACTBIS grant.

As to the details of job creation and the take-up of the waiver, I will have to get an update for Ms Tucker. But it is quite clear that, where we have gone out and made the deal with Prime, it has honoured the arrangement; it has set up its digital TV facilities at its studio at Watson.

MS TUCKER: I ask a supplementary question. Will the minister table in the Assembly today all documents relating to that agreement?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I do not think I am in a position to table any of the documents because I have none of those documents in my possession. But, as I said, I would be very happy to find out where we are in progressing our agreement with Prime as to what it has met in regard to the waiver.

Lyneham tennis centre

MR CORBELL: My question is addressed to the Chief Minister. In a media release issued on 28 May this year you imposed a seven-day deadline on the developer of the Lyneham tennis centre project, Pacific Academy Sports Trust, to settle all outstanding financial claims with contractors employed to construct stage 1 of the project. That deadline expired-depending on whom you listen to-either on midnight of Monday, 4 June or Wednesday, 6 June, without any action being taken, contrary to your public statements. Mr Smyth extended the deadline to Friday, 8 June.

It was reported in the Canberra Times on Saturday, 11 June that Mr Smyth had commented that there was now no need to revoke the development approval, despite the developer still not settling all outstanding financial claims with the contractors. Why did the government not take action after the first deadline was not met by Pacific Academy Sports Trust, and why bother setting deadlines if you are not going to enforce them?

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