Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 April 2008) . . Page.. 1204 ..
headquarters for the Office of National Assessments and the refurbishment of the RSL and that particular precinct. Traffic flows on Constitution Avenue will, of course, increase. The point will be reached where further development will be constrained without additional capacity on Constitution Avenue, but that is some years away. This is a significant issue—
Mr Smyth: That’s not what you said yesterday.
MR STANHOPE: I said nothing yesterday that contradicted that at all.
Mr Smyth: You did. You said there were ample projects going ahead.
MR STANHOPE: Actually, there is no project that is not going ahead. It is again one of these suggestions. There is no project on Constitution Avenue that is not going ahead because of issues in relation to the redevelopment of Constitution Avenue. That is just puerile nonsense. But certainly there was an issue, and there will be an issue in time if Constitution Avenue is not upgraded. We will have to ensure that that result is avoided, and we will avoid that result.
MR PRATT: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. During the MPI yesterday, you stated that investments committed or proposed in the ACT with a “high degree of certainty” included “construction and redevelopment of office buildings along Constitution Avenue at a cost of $250 million”. The Canberra Times of 7 April 2008 reports that the future of these investments in new developments is at risk after the federal government cancelled the upgrade of Constitution Avenue.
Chief Minister, why did you claim that these projects had a high degree of certainty—you said “high degree of certainty”—when in fact they are at risk because the commonwealth government has scrapped the upgrade of Constitution Avenue?
MR STANHOPE: There was a very ambiguous and unfortunate quote from the NCA in relation to its responsibilities for approving a particular development on Constitution Avenue. I do not think there is any chance or any risk to any development on Constitution Avenue as a result of the decision that the commonwealth has taken to withdraw funding from Constitution Avenue.
It is a matter of enormous regret. I do regret enormously that the commonwealth has withdrawn that funding. I have taken up the matter in correspondence with the Prime Minister’s office, the Minister for Finance, and the Minister for Home Affairs. I have met the Minister for Finance, Lindsay Tanner, and I have met the Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, and expressed directly and bluntly my serious concern and opposition to the decision taken to withdraw that fund. I have asked that it be reinstated. I am continuing those negotiations directly with the Minister for Finance, both through my meeting with him and in correspondence.
To suggest that the NCA will not approve the redevelopment of the RSL because Constitution Avenue has had funding for its upgrade withdrawn is sheer, utter