Page 4215 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2005

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All in all, it has been given the thumbs-up from the business community. They are expecting a huge boon this Christmas. The government has shown a good example in our approach to industrial relations, where we balance the rights of employees with the rights of employers, and show that where you work together you can create a stronger economy. That is clear from the statistics from last year’s Christmas trading.

This approach to industrial relations—this cooperative, collaborative approach that tries to create that appropriate balance between employers and employees—is a position that the ACT government is very proud of and will keep. It stands in stark contrast to the environment that those opposite would pursue if they were in government. Certainly the federal government is pursuing it nationally.

Belconnen to Civic busway

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Planning. I refer to statements on ABC radio yesterday by the Treasurer in which he said that cabinet would make the final decision on whether the Belconnen to Civic busway is built. I refer to numerous public statements you have made in relation to the busway, including on 5 March 2004 when you said that “the ACT government will begin building dedicated trunk public transport routes between the town centres and Civic, starting with the Gungahlin to Civic and Belconnen to Civic routes”. Minister, are we to believe you or the Treasurer on this issue?

MR CORBELL: I am very pleased to advise Mr Seselja that he can believe both of us, because we are not saying anything inconsistent on this matter. I do not know whether Mr Seselja has deigned to pick up his budget papers but, if he has, I would be really grateful if he would point out to me where the construction moneys are in the budget for the Belconnen to Civic busway. There are not any, Mr Seselja. Indeed, if Mr Seselja pays a little bit closer attention to the capital works program as outlined in the current budget papers, he will see there is money allocated to feasibility, planning and forward design, but there is no money for construction. The government has said very clearly, and I have said very clearly and the Treasurer has said very clearly, that this project, along with many other projects in the government, will need to be considered by the government in the context of future budgets.

I know that Mr Seselja might think that the truth is out there somewhere and that perhaps there is some major battle royal going on between me and the Treasurer, but I just draw to Mr Seselja’s attention that, if he goes to the capital works budget in the current budget papers, he will not find any money for construction. There has never been any money for construction, because the government is not yet ready to make a decision on whether or not this project should be constructed. The government has committed money to forward planning, to design and to feasibility, and that will allow the government to make an informed decision as to whether or not construction should proceed. I can assure Mr Seselja that he can believe both me and the Treasurer on this matter.

MR SESELJA: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, why have millions of dollars been committed to planning work for a project that may never go ahead?

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