Page 3361 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 14 November 2007

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Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I seek your ruling. At one stage during Minister Barr’s reply he referred to members of the opposition as “muppets”. I don’t know whether that is considered unparliamentary.

MR SPEAKER: If you used that term, I would ask you to withdraw it.

Mr Barr: Mr Speaker, I withdraw.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, I am grateful that you withdrew your reflection on the chair a moment ago but I am still quite prickly about it, because with members of the opposition I do warn them more than once before they are warned about constant interjections. It is a practice that I like to observe, and the same rules will apply to members of the government.

Tharwa bridge

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, in October 2006 you told the Tharwa community that it was not possible to repair the Tharwa bridge. You also told that community that you had decided to embark on a two-year, $10 million project to build a new concrete bridge.

Minister, there has been a significant amount of expert technical advice generated recently about the Tharwa bridge. In particular, a number of engineers from the New South Wales RTA have prepared a report that concludes that the Tharwa bridge is not “beyond economic repair” and that it can be repaired to at least light traffic load within a much, much shorter period of time that it would take to build your new concrete bridge.

Minister, what analysis has your department undertaken of the New South Wales RTA report about the future of the Tharwa bridge? What was the outcome of that analysis? Will you table this report by close of business tomorrow?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I thank Mr Pratt for giving the Minister for Health some relief from the scandalous attacks that they have been doing on her.

Mr Pratt: I am a humanitarian, minister.

MR HARGREAVES: I appreciate your concern for the welfare of the Minister for Health. Mr Speaker, Mr Pratt is very good at misquoting, or not remembering too well. The reason why he does not remember that well is because he was not there when I was talking to the people at Tharwa. When I was talking to the people at Tharwa, I talked about the state that the old bridge was in and put before them a number of options. We discussed those options.

We also discussed how the old bridge had deteriorated and what we needed to do to try and rescue it. But there was one overwhelming sentiment expressed at those meetings—and there were a number of them—and that was that the people at Tharwa

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