Page 4828 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister’s time has expired.

Quamby Youth Centre

MRS BURKE: My question through you, Mr Speaker, is to the Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, redirected to the Chief Minister. According to the 2005-06 capital works program progress report, in the year to September only $72,000 has been spent on the $4.5 million Quamby upgrade. What plans do you have for the expenditure of the outstanding $3.288 million that was allocated for the upgrade of Quamby under the government’s capital works program?

MR STANHOPE: I will need to take some advice on the detail of the progress on the Quamby upgrade. I do not know where the project is in terms of contracts let or tenders called. It is not unusual, of course, in any capital works program, for there to be some slippage into another year. It represents the difficulty that all governments face in any capital works program, be it small or large. There is a whole range of factors that can impact to prevent a government maintaining a program of expenditure in the normal course of events.

One could take by way of example the Gungahlin Drive extension. The fact that a community group instituted legal action that delayed the matter for in the order of 18 months was way beyond the control of the government. One could propose the same question that you ask about Quamby in relation to the Gungahlin Drive extension. What we did in that circumstance was simply to roll the funds into the next financial year, which is what we do, which is what the Liberal Party did in government and which is what every government in Australia does in any capital project where there is a delay, for whatever reason.

The project, as far as I am aware, is continuing. I am not aware that there is any particular, untoward or undue delay in its completion. I am more than happy to get the details of exactly and precisely where the project is and provide those details to members. I will have to take some advice on the extent that there have been delays that will extend it beyond this financial year. I certainly do not have that particular detailed information available to me today.

MRS BURKE: Chief Minister, you may also wish to take this on notice: what effect will the failure to spend the allocated funding on the upgrade have on the health and safety of the young people in Quamby before the new youth detention centre is built in 2008?

MR STANHOPE: I will take that on notice. I am not aware of any particular issue. No particular issue has been brought to my attention. As the minister responsible today, I am not as well briefed as the minister would be. I am not aware of any particular issue about the health or safety of any individual. That is, of course, the highest priority of the territory in relation to all who are detained, whether it be at Quamby, the Belconnen Remand Centre or elsewhere in the ACT. Uppermost in our thinking at all times is their safety and wellbeing. I am not aware of a particular issue in relation to any of the people currently detained at Quamby, but I will certainly seek confirmation of that position.

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