Page 2351 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. When will you admit that you have reneged on your commitment to this constituent and to the community in general?

MR CORBELL: I have not.


MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Minister, through the budget, you have provided $12 million over four years to cover the capital cost of the arboretum—as Mr Seselja called it, the big tree farm.

Mr Hollway, the chairman of the interim board overseeing the project, wrote in an article in yesterday’s Canberra Times, arguing that the arboretum will require capital expenditure of at least $1 million a year for decades before it reaches completion. Minister, how much do you estimate it will cost to complete the arboretum?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. I am not sure that that is exactly what Mr Hollway said. He proposed it as a possibility. It is not for Mr Hollway to determine or to make any statement about how much money any government might expend on any particular project. I think I need, for the sake of the record, to suggest that Mrs Dunne has verballed Mr Hollway’s statement in the claim she has just made on this.

Mr Gentleman: Surely not!

MR STANHOPE: Surely not! I think any reading of the Canberra Times would reveal that that is not what Mr Hollway said.

It has to be said, though, in relation to projects such as this, that anything is possible. What we have done, as a government, is provide $12 million worth of capital funding and $2 million worth of recurrent funding to a magnificent, far-sighted, visionary project—a majestic project, a project that will—

Mrs Burke: The Stanhope memorial!

MR STANHOPE: It is majestic; it is wonderful. It will be an absolutely fantastic legacy of the fire. It will be something that generations of Canberrans to come will visit and view with enormous pride. It is something that will, in time, attract, of itself, significant numbers of tourists to the ACT.

In an environment where we, as a community, must be mindful of the narrowness of our economic base, in an environment where we must look to the future, where we must look beyond the electoral cycle, where we must have the courage to take decisions for the future that are not tied to the next election, this is, I think, a fantastic project for the ACT. I am proud of it and will continue to give it all my energy and all my support.

It is a project that demands full community support. I believe that, in time, it will achieve that. It is a pity that it does not have bipartisan support. It is a pity, I think, that the Liberal Party cannot see the significance of this project; cannot imagine the beauty that

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