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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3708 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

of rigour in some way demeans the institution."I did yesterday, Mr Speaker. I hope I do not again today.

Convention centre

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Mr Quinlan. On 14 July, Minister, you stated in a media release on the National Convention Centre:

We are following a competitive three-stage process. In order to be considered, companies and consortiums must compete in an expression of interest process. I will call for formal expressions of interest next month.

In other words, Minister, you promised to call for expressions of interest in August. The Canberra Times of 11 September 2003 stated:

Mr Quinlan said yesterday a steering committee had been established for the convention centre project and expressions of interest would be called for at the end of September.

Minister, why have you failed to meet your commitments on this essential project and, furthermore, failed to set down a clear timeframe for completion of this vital project for our tourism industry?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Mrs Burke, for the question. I have to say, and I will advise this house quite happily, that I am not happy with the progress that has been made so far, I am not happy with the progress that was made in the first half of this year, and I am not happy with the progress that has been made since the decision to establish a steering committee. What I will do is assure the house that I am taking every step that I can to accelerate this process but at the same time making sure that the interests of the territory are protected and that probity in what could turn out to be a very massive project is observed.

To some extent, I suppose, with some of the matters that we have had to address and matters that I have to totally confess to have not anticipated needed doing, we may be living with the legacy of Bruce Stadium in as much as there is a hypersensitivity here in relation to probity and making sure that every i is dotted and every t is crossed. I am happy to say to this house that we will be working towards making sure we get a decent convention facility in this place, and if it takes an extra month or two it will take an extra month or two but the process will be done properly.

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, given that you are not happy with the progress, how then can people have confidence in your commitment to improve convention facilities when you consistently fail to outline a timeline and you fail to achieve the deadlines you set yourself?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Quinlan.

Mr Stanhope: How many reports were there on the Bruce Stadium? Fourteen.

Mrs Burke: Are we talking about you now, Chief Minister? You are under the spotlight.

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