Page 4863 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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the objectives they set out that they think should be achieved—

the select body might be assisted if constituted under legislation.

I put it to you that the case Mr Seselja made in his speech to accompany the bill was that it can only achieve those objectives in a timely, commercial, focused and dedicated fashion if it is constituted under legislation, the sort of legislation that Mr Seselja puts forward today.

But let us not dither; let us not delay; let us not smother; let us not stifle; let us not suffocate the future of Civic. Define a bigger area, if you have the courage, Mr Corbell; use the powers that would be accorded you as minister by this legislation to say what is the precinct that you would like to see developed. That is what Mr Seselja has intended.

Obviously this bill will not get up today, and that is a shame. The standard for this government’s operating procedure is: when in doubt, form another committee. When you have formed your committee, then blame the NCA. I am pleased to hear the minister say at last that he is going to negotiate with the NCA on something. Conversation between this current government and the federal government has been very poor, as pointed out by Mr Mulcahy in the last sitting week, on a whole range of areas where we have not communicated properly with the federal government, which also has great sway in this city, as the nation’s capital, as is appropriate.

I commend this bill to the house. It is a reasonable bill; it is a reasonable approach. It will be killed off by those opposite, as so many opportunities have been killed off. This is an opportunity lost. This is an opportunity squandered. This is an opportunity that comes along very rarely. At a time when the majority of people in this city are interested in looking at something moving forward, unfortunately we have a backward-looking government.

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (5.17): If someone does a study of this Assembly and how it operated in the noughties, debate like this would be a terrific example of what occurs in this place. We have had the Snow/Stewart plan put forward. I have to say that, when I first saw it, I thought, “That is a pretty picture. That looks good. I like that.” On the first day, I asked the question: “What demand for space does this imply versus the potential growth of the city even on the most optimistic of projections?” That was the fundamental question. The fundamental question has come home to the working party that has looked at this proposal.

I refer to page 37 of the report. There is a diagram which shows that demand equals supply in accommodation, even with the existing and planned dock, at about the year 2025 and beyond—it stretches to 2030—to absorb the additional commercial office space implied by the City Hill project. Many of us slumped back when we realised that. I first saw that diagram or its original when I had a briefing from Treasury. I instructed Treasury to do some analysis. I instructed them not to be pessimistic, not to be Treasury-style conservative but to do some projection with an element of optimism and a bit of “build it and they will come”. When you look at the whole project that is on offer,

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