Page 4916 - Week 15 - Thursday, 15 December 2005

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outstanding election promises, when you prioritise which existing capital works projects will you abandon?

MR STANHOPE: I do not think it is fair to say that the government intends to abandon any capital works project. The capital works projects that we have committed ourselves to, the capital works projects that we have undertaken as part of our formal promises, will all be delivered. It has to be said, in relation to documents that the opposition relies on in relation to this, that the documents prepared by Treasury, in draft form, as a precursor to advice that was later formally provided to the cabinet. They contained a number of expressions of view or opinion by Treasury officials about the potential cost of initiatives that are on the table.

One that appears and features within that draft documentation—drafts that, of course, were never provided to the cabinet—is the issue of, for instance, the Belconnen to Canberra busway. The minister has stated repeatedly in this place that to date the appropriation or the funding provided for that project is funding restricted to the design phase of the program. The cabinet has never taken a decision to fund that particular program.

Mr Smyth: Are you backing away now?

MR STANHOPE: This, of course, is one of the so-called 55 projects that the opposition insists, revealed by leaked draft documents—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR STANHOPE: indicate commitments by the government to expenditure on capital programs.

Mrs Burke: Do you deny—

MR STANHOPE: I do. The cabinet, the government, has never undertaken, has never taken a decision, to fund the Belconnen to Civic busway—never.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR STANHOPE: Yet this is ratcheted out time and time again over the last couple of months, since the document was revealed, as one of these 55 promised funding projects—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR STANHOPE: and it is simply not true. Go back and find that anywhere in the cabinet papers—a commitment by this government to fund that particular project. It is a project that we are committed to—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister, resume your seat. The opposition will come to order, please!

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