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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3607 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

This is a matter of serious concern. Nobody wishes to see somebody who is waiting for treatment, whether it be radiotherapy or assessment treatment for oncology, having to wait longer than is necessary. At this stage people in Canberra are largely being dealt with within the clinically required time frames. There have been a couple of exceptions to that, I understand, but broadly that is happening, and we are working to maintain that standard.

Gungahlin Drive Extension

MR HIRD: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, I understand the government has gone through a thorough and proper process leading to the considered decision to proceed with the extension to Gungahlin Drive. Can you confirm when the government plans to complete the extension to Gungahlin Drive? Could you advise the Assembly if the government has considered deferring the project until after the election on 20 October this year? If so, what were the reasons why the government decided not to follow this course of action?

Mr Kaine: On a point of order: is the minister being asked to comment on a matter of government policy, by any chance?

MR SPEAKER: No, he is not. By the way, there was some interjection there about a reflection on the vote; there is no reflection on the vote here. As I said, Mr Hird is seeking information. No, it is not government policy.

MR SMYTH: No, it is Assembly reality. The construction of the Gungahlin Drive extension should commence in the year 2003, with completion in mid-2004. This is, of course, assuming that the Commonwealth Minister for Territories and the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories support the amendment to National Capital Plan No 41.

The government has not given serious thought to delaying the Gungahlin Drive extension until after the election because we understand that the people of Gungahlin need a better roads network and it could cause two to three years of undue delay. A change of mind in the Assembly would cause significant delay. In particular, a subsequent decision to change to the western route would probably lead to a three-year delay in the construction of the Gungahlin Drive extension.

Mr Hird: How long?

MR SMYTH: We believe it would be up to three years. Assuming there is no environmental impact statement, the timing is likely to be: three months as a minimum to resolve the alignment-quite possibly longer; six months, as a minimum, to prepare, release for public comment, review and submit to the minister a new draft variation of the Territory Plan to incorporate a western alignment; a year for referring that to the Committee on Planning and Urban Services; and one or two months for tabling in the Assembly. If we needed to have another environmental impact study, it would add another 12 months to the process.

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