Page 4606 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

We have existing agreements for the provision of water to the city of greater Queanbeyan, which we meet. We meet obligations under the agreements and under the legislation that apply to the supply of water across the border. When the cross-border water agreement is reached and settled, as these agreements are ultimately signed by the three governments, we will have a framework and a whole range of criteria on which decisions might be made by the ACT government and, most particularly, by the New South Wales government about, particularly and most importantly, regional settlement and the basis on which water would be provided to those settlements.

There are a whole range of issues in this complex and difficult debate, one of them being costs to the ACT. It is interesting to see the way in which the matter was reported this morning. There was no suggestion by Mr Winnel, Mr Pangallo or Mr Whan, for that matter, about the cross-border costs the ACT would pick up. This is why we have been hampered. It is an incredibly complex issue. There are enormous costs that would be borne by us.

MR SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired.

MR GENTLEMAN: My supplementary question to the Chief Minister is: what other agreements would the ACT like to see developed between the two jurisdictions?

Mr Smyth: What about an agreement on the road?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Smyth interjects, “What about an agreement on the road?”

MR SPEAKER: It was highly disorderly and there is no need to respond to it.

MR STANHOPE: That is right, but it is relevant to the question. It is precisely what I was going to talk about. I was going to talk about it in the context of the one-sided and, I have to say, rather hypocritical approach taken by those proponents across the border who point the finger at this government, without ever strutting up and entering a debate which is part and parcel of our negotiations with New South Wales in terms of the agreement.

What about a debate about the cost to the ACT of regional settlement across the border? To use one example, 42 per cent of students at St Edmunds college live across the border. Does anybody think for one minute that there is not a significant cost to the ACT taxpayer of 42 per cent of an entire school? I used St Edmunds as an indication of a dramatic and stark indication of the nature of the cross-border relationship, the interrelationship and the dependency of people across the border on ACT services. These are important and complex issues. We anticipate the cost of education provision by the ACT taxpayer for New South Wales students at $22 million.

Mr Smyth: Have you put in a Productivity Commission claim?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, we have. It is not recognised and we are not recompensed. $22 million is the direct cost to the ACT of the provision of education in the ACT of New South Wales students. The Liberals dismiss that as irrelevant because it is a continuation of their commitment to non-engagement with other governments on the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .