Page 4487 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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We saw, going back a little while, before my time in this place, the saga of the GDE. It was endlessly and needlessly delayed for some 18 months because Labor attempted, unsuccessfully I might add, to change the alignment from the eastern route to a western route as part of its quest to have a political difference from the formal Liberal government. The people of Canberra have suffered as a result of these wrong and inept decisions by the ACT government.

What have we got now? The people of Gungahlin have got to live with a two-lane road instead of a four-lane road—

Mr Stanhope: No wonder your vote is going down.

MR MULCAHY: My vote went very well, I might tell you. I am very happy with my vote. We have got now this two-lane road that will probably be obsolete by the time it starts. Under their true style of economic management, the costs have blown out from $32 million to $105 million. I suspect that we are going to end up with a situation where it will cost a deal more and we will still not have an adequate solution to the transport needs of this fast growing area where tens of thousands of Canberrans who are setting up home expect, not unreasonably, that this matter should have been attended to a long time ago.

We go to the bushfire saga. And what a saga that was! How did the Chief Minister constantly annoy the federal government and the people of Canberra by needlessly delaying the ACT government’s response to the COAG bushfire report—the report of the independent national inquiry into the bushfires delivered to the Prime Minister in April 2003? The aim was to release the report and its findings well before the next bushfire season so that preparations could be made. In the end, the report was delayed until January 2004, far too late to be of any practical use that summer. We still do not know why the ACT—

Mr Stanhope: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the ACT did not delay the release of the report. That issue has been agitated in this place. The ACT government did not delay the release of the COAG report.

MR SPEAKER: That is an issue you will have to deal with in the context of the debate.

Mr Stanhope: The member does need to be honest. That is simply not true. That matter has been dealt with in the Assembly before. The member knows that is not true. He should not be repeating in this place things that he knows not to be true.

MR SPEAKER: That is something you can raise in the debate. Withdraw the imputation of dishonesty. You drew into question a member’s honesty. You cannot do that in this place.

Mr Stanhope: He said I delayed a report. I categorically did not delay it.

MR SPEAKER: You can move a substantive motion, if that is what you wish.

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