Page 517 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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I am happy, of course, to examine any other further sites that people might seek to nominate and that may be suitable, excluding, given the detailed assessment that has occurred, the blocks that were proposed in the Majura Valley. So I reiterate my response to Mr Stefaniak that the government will not be reopening investigations on those sites. That work has been done extensively and it is clear that those sites are not suitable. Should the Liberal Party have an alternative position on that, I welcome them to engage with all of the various people who, through extensive study, have indicated quite clearly that those sites are not suitable. Were those opposite ever to form government and seek to proceed with activity on those sites, they would spend a lot of time in court with a variety of opponents, given the extensive nature of all of the studies on those sites.

So it would appear that, unless another site can be found within the borders of the territory, we would have to look at something just across the border in New South Wales. We have been approached by the former lessee of Wakefield Park in Goulburn who had a block of land adjacent to Wakefield Park, but it would appear that that proposal is not supported by dragway proponents within the ACT. I might add that the thousands of postcards on the particular campaign that have been received in my office have largely been from New South Wales residents—I am sure there is interest in surrounding New South Wales for such a facility—but it would appear that there is not land available within the ACT. So, unless someone can come forward very quickly with an alternative block, alternative considerations will have to be made. But they will be made in the context of budget deliberations and we will make announcements in due course.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Stefaniak?

MR STEFANIAK: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the minister for his answer. Minister, will all or part of the money be spent on other motor sport facilities?

MR BARR: Yes, that would be the government’s intention, but of course these matters are subject to further budget consideration. The money was made available for motor sport activities, most specifically a dragway, should a suitable site be found. As it would appear that a suitable site cannot be found, we will have to consider a range of other options. But I will not close the door absolutely and finally on the dragway until we have exhausted all possibilities. So I put the call out again: should there be a suitable site found, the money is still available for a dragway at this point in time.

Education—Canberra Institute of Technology

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the minister for education. Would the minister advise the Assembly of the steps being taken by the Stanhope government, through the Canberra Institute of Technology, to address the skills shortage?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter, again, for her interest in education and training. The timing of Ms Porter’s question is indeed very good. I had the opportunity, during the lunch break, to visit the Canberra Institute of Technology’s Reid campus, where

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