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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 12 February 2008) . . Page.. 94 ..

“We must build a new two-lane concrete bridge without delay,” he said.

That was the Liberal Party’s decision-making process two years ago in relation to Tharwa bridge. That was the Liberal Party’s decision-making process and the outcome of their decision-making process on Tharwa bridge two years ago. There was a—

Mr Pratt: We changed that rapidly, I tell you.

MR STANHOPE: Here we have it. Here we have it: “We changed that rapidly. We announced our position two years ago as a criticism of this government for procrastinating in building a two-lane concrete bridge without delay to meet the urgent needs, a position which was fully supported by the spokesperson for the Tharwa community.”

At the time, the Canberra Times reported on the matter following the bipartisan position expressed through Mr Pratt and Mr Hargreaves. It mentioned Mr Val Jeffery, described as a spokesperson for the Tharwa community. He said to the Canberra Times, “Long-time Tharwa resident, Val Jeffery, said yesterday, that although he loved the old bridge, he no longer cared if it stayed or not.” When the decision was announced and he received the news that a new concrete bridge would be built across the Murrumbidgee, Mr Jeffery said to the Canberra Times, “It’s the best bit of news we’ve had for a long time. We definitely need that new bridge and we need it urgently.”

That was the position of the community at the time that the decision was announced. And that was the decision of Mr Pratt and the Liberal Party. That was their decision-making process—exactly the same as ours, with exactly the same result and the exact same conclusion. Over time, the Liberal Party changed its position on the Tharwa bridge; the Tharwa community and Mr Jeffery changed their position on the Tharwa bridge; and the government changed its position on the Tharwa bridge. There is a remarkable similarity of views in relation to the Tharwa bridge. Let us stop this nonsense and humbug and allow Mr Mulcahy the final word.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.27): I thank the Chief Minister for his very kind remarks, but I have to take issue with some of the decisions of this territory government. Not least, in the very limited time I have available I have to note the remarkable situation where we had a second appropriation bill tabled in the Assembly just weeks after the initial appropriation was passed. It left me bewildered as to what the decision-making process was, especially as we know that government departments were instructed to begin submissions for extra expenditure through the second appropriation almost concurrently with the passage of the main budget.

Although I am sure that all members recognise the right of governments to make expenditure decisions throughout their term, it is quite curious that, having passed a $3 billion budget, this territory government found it necessary to almost instantly begin a search for new ways to expend public money. There was no mention of this in the debate concluded just weeks earlier, and it is difficult to believe that the vastly

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