Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 14 February 2008) . . Page.. 306 ..
Nonetheless, the wider Tharwa community, which has at various times been brought into the discussion, has changed its priorities apparently over time. There was possibly a need for the Tharwa community to sit down and develop a position that all could share. I am not sure about the story behind the three petitions that were handed in yesterday relating to the bridge. I am not sure whether they reflected what are, I am sure, the different views in that community.
Back to the consultation, because there is still work that can be done, it is not over bar the shouting. The consultation process appears to have begun well and then flagged. I suggested at the time that a committee be set up of Tharwa residents and departmental members to liaise over the decisions about the bridge. Had that happened, we could have had a well-informed Tharwa community.
I suggest that now, not just in terms of damage control but in terms of getting the full information to the community, Mr Hargreaves and his officers should make themselves available and explain the situation, much as Mr Hargreaves did today and much as he did to me in the briefing, and, apparently, to Mr Mulcahy, to get everybody on the right page. Out of that process, a liaison committee could be set up, comprising residents elected by the Tharwa community to represent them, and members of the department.
This is not over yet. It is a pity that the minister has chosen not to listen to me because I actually think this could help save his political bacon to some extent. Because the government has made a decision to replace the Allan bridge, that is not the end of the matter at all. There are going to be problems over delays and getting materials. It is all going to take an awful lot longer than anybody would want. So why not set up a committee to deal with those issues and in order for there to be good communication? To me, the situation has been a failure of good and consistent communication. I do not believe it is too late to remedy it. It is a concern that the minister is not listening. That is an indication that communication is a problem.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (5.34): I have to respond to some of what Dr Foskey said. She said that she was not trying to trivialise the problem, but it very much sounded like she was. I am told by Mr Pratt that he actually has sought a briefing from the minister and has not yet received one. So it is interesting, the different treatment—
Mr Hargreaves: He is not getting one. He has got 600 pages of FOI. Use your 600 pages.
Mr TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): Order!
Mr Hargreaves: Do it honestly instead of dishonestly.
MR SESELJA: Perhaps briefings are only offered to those people who the minister—
MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hargreaves!
Dr Foskey: I asked for a briefing. It was not offered.