Page 3175 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 24 August 2005

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On the third point in the motion, I am sure that the community of west Belconnen needs no encouragement to use their new library. I hope that it meets all their expectations. After all, they have had to fight for it for 12 years. A library is not just a place that holds books; it is a community meeting point that can assist in delivering vital services addressing the community’s needs. I am pleased to learn that a community meeting room is being included in the new library, in line with the recommendations of the Kippax library and Belconnen region services study conducted in 2002.

I am also pleased to hear that the library will be trialing a homework help centre, assisting primary and secondary students, families and schools. This will help in the building of links between the library, other community services and local schools. The 2002 Kippax library study put forward several other recommendations that I think are also important. I am less sure about the extent to which these recommendations have been implemented and I would appreciate it if Ms Porter would clarify their status.

The first recommendation was that the library increase its staffing numbers from the 3.6 employed at the time of the study. The second was that the library’s opening hours be extended to include weekends. Another significant item identified in the study was that the people of Kippax cannot always afford to travel to Belconnen, due to a lack of appropriate transport and, in some cases, their physical health and/or disability, sometimes due to age. We know our senior citizens are often great library users.

I think that this is an opportunity to reflect on the need to support and promote local community facilities, including local shops, banking services, meeting places and community centres, of which the library is but one, although significant, component. I hope that the government will continue to support the development of community infrastructure and facilities in the suburbs of west Belconnen.

I thank Ms Porter for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. I will vote in favour of it, despite my misgivings regarding the second and the third points.

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (4.32): There are just a couple of remarks that I wanted to make in response to Mr Stefaniak’s history lesson. Let me say that the changes that I have seen over the last 10 or so years in the ACT economy have more to do with the initiatives of Paul Keating than they do with the good management of John Howard, and I would be very happy to hear any citations of initiatives that the Howard-Costello government have put in place that have had as much impact upon our fortunes as those which Mr Keating put in place.

Following on from that, I then heard the oxymoron “good management by the Carnell government”. I very much struggle to remember an instance of an initiative that finished up being of a benefit to the territory. I can think of plenty of initiatives that the Carnell government undertook, but most of them cost a lot of money and really have died on the vine since.

Further, you mentioned the fact that you had substantial debt. But I do not think the territory had debt at that stage, other than the unfunded superannuation liability, which

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