Page 1436 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 6 May 2008

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presented an unparalleled opportunity for the ACT to present the national capital of Australia in its beauty and glory, with all the opportunities it presents in relation to tourism and as an expression of a great and proud capital for a great and proud nation, and that $950,000 represented very good value in terms of the return that we would receive in a pragmatic sense—let alone, of course, the return that we would receive not just in terms of a great celebration of the single greatest international movement but in seeking or pursuing greater international intercourse and harmony among the people of the world.

The Olympic Games—the Olympic movement—is the single greatest success in an institutional sense for creating international harmony and understanding and I was very pleased that my government and, through my government, the people of Canberra could be involved in that. At the time that that budget was set, discussions were held between the Chief Executive of the Chief Minister’s Department and the then secretary to the Prime Minister’s department, Dr Peter Shergold, at which we were given a clear undertaking or a clear understanding that the commonwealth would meet half of those anticipated costs of around half a million dollars. That remains my understanding and the ACT government’s position.

As everybody is aware, as a result of the initial experiences in relation to the relay, most particularly in London and San Francisco and Paris, we did a complete and thorough reassessment of all issues involved in the hosting or the conduct of the relay. That involved a significant ratcheting up of security, to the extent that a decision was taken to fence the entire route, which was around 18 kilometres. That cost just under $200,000, and we, of course, arranged for significant additional enhanced security, particularly through police resources.

I do not have a final figure in relation to the cost of additional police resources and I do not have a breakdown between the cost of ACT Policing as opposed to federal policing costs, but I am led to believe that the cost would be in the order of three-quarters of a million dollars—$750,000 or thereabouts.

I have, however, in relation to that additional cost, written to the Prime Minister asking, in the first instance, for the commonwealth to honour the original arrangement and for the commonwealth to consider meeting half of the total cost of the relay. I have had some discussions with the chief of staff of the Prime Minister in which I have put to him my understanding and the ACT government’s understanding about the commonwealth’s position, namely, that they would meet half of the original costs, and I believe that in the context of the event they should give serious consideration to meeting half the total cost. I have not had a response to that letter. The chief of staff listened to my representations.

I must say that I have also in passing—and I must say that it was in passing—at the 2020 summit had a brief conversation with the Australian Federal Police commissioner, Mr Mick Keelty, in relation to the event and put that same position to him.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question from Mr Mulcahy.

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