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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4814 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

consultants' reports, the release of a discussion paper rather than a draft of the economic white paper and, after all these delays, the apparent release of the final economic white paper next week. I understand that your government appointed a consultant to help prepare the final economic white paper. What was the cost of this consultancy? Did the consultant provide a satisfactory product at the end of the consultancy, and is it the case that the white paper was so completely inadequate and such a dog's breakfast that staff of BusinessACT have been completely rewriting the white paper over the past six weeks?

MR QUINLAN: Certainly we have hired consultants along the way. There have been versions of the white paper, and no matter how good it is, the opposition will find that it is no good at all. That is entirely consistent with the negative approach that has been taken by those on the other side.

Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: standing order 118 (b) says that the minister cannot debate the question; he has to answer the question. The question asked was there a rewrite, was there a consultancy and have staff of BusinessACT been rewriting the product?

MR QUINLAN: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: contained within the question was the expression "such a dog's breakfast", and there was criticism of the paper and its various stages. I feel quite entitled to respond to that-and I will.

Mr Smyth: Further to the point of order, Mr Speaker: at no time did I use the word "criticism".

MR SPEAKER: That is a matter the member might want to take up as a personal explanation. A point of order has been taken in relation to the minister's response. The minister is responding to a question asked of him. I cannot see any reason to direct him how to respond to the question. I ask him to continue, bearing in mind the standing orders.

MR QUINLAN: Clearly, the question asked today is a portent of tomorrow, and I do not anticipate anything different from the opposition than whatever criticism it can find. I suppose it is part of politics that one does that, and I would not expect anything different, particularly from Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: I ask a supplementary question. Treasurer, what is the estimate of the total cost of preparing the economic white paper, including the numerous consultants and the extra burden carried by public servants trying to salvage the fiasco?

MR QUINLAN: The whole question says salvaging the fiasco. There has not been a fiasco, so the question is a non sequitur

Williamsdale quarry

MRS CROSS: My question is for the minister for business, Mr Quinlan. During the previous Assembly, I understand that a constant stream of questions was asked by you, Mr Speaker, on the Williamsdale quarry, the reasons for its demise and the problems possibly associated with it. I have been approached by constituents who are concerned

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