Page 4129 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005

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of an office. They have had to answer these ridiculous, spurious and most intricate questions on notice—

Mr Smyth: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Standing order 118 (b) says that the minister cannot debate the issue. Also, another standing order says that he must be relevant in answering a question. He is not.

MR SPEAKER: The point of the question was BCA assessment of government premises. Mr Hargreaves has been talking about the however many thousands of government properties. Whilst ever he sticks to the subject matter, he can continue.

MR HARGREAVES: I am on my way, Mr Speaker, as is said in that Scottish song.

MR SPEAKER: You are going to get there about now!

MR HARGREAVES: Yes, I will. I will probably be there in about two minutes and 30 seconds. Mrs Burke has asked me to say how many of our properties satisfy the code and how many of them require major work, minor work and a whole stack of stuff. I am very tempted to invite Mrs Burke to come with me and visit all 11,500 of them and then she could find out for herself. Mr Speaker, it is a ridiculous question.

ACT Racing Club—insurance

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Minister for Racing and Gaming. Can the minister please bring the Assembly up to date regarding the insurance issue at the ACT Racing Club?

MR QUINLAN: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. This is, I have to say, still a work in progress, but I think we should advise the Assembly where we are up to. By way of background, the ACT Racing Club creates some level of employment for, I think, about 500 people in and out of the ACT on a regular basis. The government has been directly involved with it on redevelopment of Thoroughbred Park—not by way of financing but by way of devising a way in which it can parlay its future racing development fund fees against loans—and we have underwritten the work that has been done at the racing club. To put it in a monetary perspective, our TAB, makes I think, the best part of half a million dollars in Canberra on Canberra races, so the club is a very significant contributor within the territory and needs to be given whatever assistance we can reasonably give it.

I think members are aware that the racing club faced some difficulty with its insurance and we have been working fairly solidly with it to resolve that. At this stage it looks as though we will be able to join with New South Wales and for the ACT Racing Club to be considered for many purposes part of the New South Wales racing industry, given that to many—virtually most—of the people involved in racing the border is just invisible, whether they are running here, in Goulburn or wherever they think they might win the local cup.

So there is now a good chance that, if we work with the racing club, and if we do with our racing club what we did with Summernats, where we took the people running the event through a whole, quite arduous, process of risk management to the point where

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