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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2827 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

to ensure that we can guarantee high-quality services, particularly vitally needed pathology services, to all Canberrans.

That is why we have gone down this path. That is why we have entered into the arrangements we have. I am happy to provide further details, hopefully this afternoon.

Remand facility

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for corrections, Mr Quinlan, and it concerns the government's plan to develop a new remand centre. Minister, during the Estimates Committee you were advised that Rengain were now doing the work on developing the new remand centre. In the work that Rengain did on the prison proposal last year for the previous government, they costed a stand-alone remand centre at $61 million. It is currently costed at $50 million. Why is there such a substantial difference in costing of this project?

MR QUINLAN: I think I have explained this. We have allowed $50 million, which is up there around about or certainly on the way to what this remand centre would cost. I have not put in $61 million. I think adequate allowance should be made, but I want to see financial discipline. It was touched on this morning, ironically, from the other side of the house. I think members will observe that this government is introducing financial responsibility and rigour progressively, and has done so since it came to government.

I judged and as a cabinet we judged that it was reasonable to allow $50 million, which meant that whatever was done would have a financial pressure on it. There would be pressure to keep the costs to the minimum. More importantly, $50 million is a whole lot closer to the mark than zero. What was contained in the budget we inherited was zero. Today we have another touch of irony. The mob that has rediscovered financial rigour has now discovered that you need to put everything in the budget and have it right up to the mark. Welcome back from Damascus, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: I ask a supplementary question. Where are the cost savings coming from which result in the reduction of $11 million? Is the government proposing to cut security for the remand centre as part of its cost saving on the project?

MR QUINLAN: No, the government is not. The figure given, as I said, is a general estimated figure, and it is a figure set at a level that will impose the maximum discipline on the process. That is the intent.

Floriade fence

MRS CROSS: My question is to the minister for tourism,. Mr Quinlan, you announced as part of your 2002-03 budget that Floriade would remain free this year. I have since been informed that the fence will remain around Floriade this year. Mr Quinlan, I would like to run you through some comments made by your colleagues about that fence in past years. Mr Berry labelled it "the hated black fence", "the silly black fence" and "that rotten fence". He also said, "There was never a need for a fence" and "It strikes me as extraordinary that all of a sudden we need a fence when we haven't got a fee." Leader Jon Stanhope also bought into the argument, happy that the fee was axed by the Liberals in 2001, but the government of the time still does not get the point about the fence.

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