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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2680 ..

Dragway rally

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Deputy Chief Minister, the best tourism minister we have had here in seven years. Can the minister advise the Assembly about the meeting that the Chief Minister and he attended with representatives of the dragway community on Tuesday?

Mr Stefaniak: Yes, they were not very happy at the end of it.

MR HARGREAVES: We will see. I want to know. I am bursting to know.

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves, for the question and the compliment. First of all, I want to correct a little snippet that was on the WIN TV report, which said that, during the rally, the government finally ran up the white flag and allowed three people to come in. In fact, that appointment had been in my diary and Mr Stanhope's diary for a matter of weeks. The meeting had been arranged earlier. I wanted to clarify the fact that we did intend to talk to a delegation from the dragway crowd.

We did have a very useful meeting. Let me tell you, across the road, that you are not very popular, whether you get up at the rally or not. The number one culprit is the immediate past government, because of what they did. They do believe that they were actually duped by the previous government, and the feeling still runs deep. However, it was still a useful meeting.

There are a couple of things that I want to put in place.

MR SPEAKER: Order, members! Let Mr Quinlan answer the question please.

MR QUINLAN: One was that, previous to budget time the dragway people had come to government and said that they wanted $6 million plus land. That was the deal and there was to be no compromise below that. I had to advise them, after the budget was brought down, that we did not have $6 million to apply to a dragway, unfortunately. It was at that point that the fall-back position came out: that the dragway people would still be interested in negotiating with government over the acquisition of suitable land in order to reconstruct and reopen a dragway.

Certainly, this government will try to identify somewhere suitable, but it is very difficult, of course. A dragway will put down quite a large footprint, given the noise that it would generate. I can also advise that I have written to Senator Nick Minchin about whether or not he could reconsider decisions taken on the old dragway site. I noticed that, in a press release, the revhead, Steve Pratt, is going to lobby Labor on the dragway. I reckon, Mr Pratt, you might spend your energy a bit better by lobbying Senator Nick Minchin, because there is the possibility that it could open-

Mr Pratt: Can you identify a site?

Mrs Dunne: If I were planning minister, I would give them a lease.

MR QUINLAN: Do I hear "rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb"? Is that what I hear? All right. Okay.

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