Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2005) . . Page.. 2373 ..
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.09): Mr Speaker, I have a number of areas. In the last few months, the Chief Minister’s line has taken over the dragway. Now that in itself might not be a startling development. There is a lot to be said for coordination—
Mr Seselja: They are not building it, Bill. They are not going to build it.
MR STEFANIAK: Exactly, Zed. There’s a lot to be said for coordinating at a central level that particular important project. However, some very disturbing signs came out of this estimates committee. Mr Seselja has touched on a few, and I will talk about that as well. In October 2004—in fact, I think it was the Thursday before the election—I suspect in somewhat of a panic, because the government realised how important this issue was to so many people in Canberra, the Chief Minister came out with an unequivocal statement that the dragway would be built. They would spend $8 million on it and it would be built in 18 months.
Mr Quinlan: It got us over the line.
MR STEFANIAK: It might have got you over the line! In December, and I think it might have been Pearl Harbour day, he reiterated that statement and said that the dragway would be built in 18 months. That was certainly a very brave statement, given the history of this project, but it was a welcome statement. Indeed, one would think that the government was absolutely committed to building this dragway. It promised it in 2001 but had not delivered anything in 2004—had made no real steps to do it—and promised it again in October and December 2004. Since then, very little has happened.
We have finally got a committee organised by the Chief Minister to supposedly see this project through. It has only recently been formed and, I understand, it has met at least once and possibly twice by now. It was in the Canberra Times a couple of weeks ago. We also have had the Chief Minister appear at estimates. But I do not think dragway supporters or motor sport supporters can take much heart from what he said, and he said a number of things there. I understand that only one area is being considered, Majura. I think the government has absolutely ruled out any other sites. I think he might have said that at estimates and certainly it has been said to people involved in this issue that there are no sites other than Majura. He also said a whole lot of conditions had to be fulfilled and I think he talked at the estimates about noise. Motor sport is noisy; it is always going to be an issue. It is an issue you need to overcome. You need to weigh up what is in the public good, and public good quite clearly comes down very much in favour of building a dragway and motor sport facility, but the Chief Minister’s left that as a bit of an out.
Also, for a government somewhat profligate in its spending—having raised the amount from $2.024 million in the last budget to $2.7 million now—the Chief Minister has refused to commit anything more than the $8 million. It is $8 million and not a cent more. As a result of what the Chief Minister has said in the estimates process, there are some real questions over the dragway. I am a bit worried about the two excuses he has used. The first is that he has this committee to oversee the dragway. What happens if the committee does not agree? Will that be used as an excuse by the government to say, “Well, the committee cannot agree, therefore, we cannot go ahead with it”? What if the project costs more than $8 million? Because, remember, those figures are probably the 2003 figures. We made the promise in October 2003 and the government said it would