Page 532 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order regarding relevance. Under standing order 118 (b), the minister cannot debate the subject.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Smyth has asked me to rule on relevance. Mr Barr is continuing the theme in accordance with the subject matter of the question. Is there a supplementary question?

MR PRATT: My supplementary question to the minister is this: minister, what due diligence has the government conducted on proposals to ensure public safety at the event?

MR BARR: The government will, as it does with all events, ensure that public safety is paramount. The government continues to do so through all events that we support, through direct event management in events such as Celebrate Canberra that the Chief Minister’s special events unit is running this long weekend. We will continue, through all the events that we support, to ensure that public safety is paramount.

This event is no different from any other event that the ACT government is involved in in terms of safety being paramount. This event is one that the government has previously operated. I stress again: this is not new; this is not something that we have never done before; this is something we have been involved in for 22 years.

Mr Hargreaves: Including them.

MR BARR: Yes. In fact, the opposition party happened to be the government of the territory then. They were involved in running this event, it would seem. If the ACT government were incapable—

Mr Pratt: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, under 118 (a), can the minister just answer the question: what is the detail of due diligence? I do not care about the history. Can you tell me what has been done about the due diligence process to ensure public safety?

MR SPEAKER: I have been listening closely. It was a pretty straightforward question, and the minister is reinforcing the fact that it has been run by the government for many years.

MR BARR: They may not like the answer and they may not like the fact that the government has been involved in the organisation and running of this event since its inception in 1986.

If there was a big move away from what has been the history of these events, it was when parts of the management were outsourced to CBF in 2002. It would be fair to say that, over the course of that time, the event has had significant difficulties and that it has nearly fallen over on more than one occasion and has had to be propped up by government because the previous operators would indicate, and continued to indicate, at the last moment their inability to deliver the event without additional government assistance.

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