Page 1929 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 25 June 2008

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the site, said, after all, that it had been, and the estimates committee was reconvened to hear the evidence.

It is interesting here that the Chief Minister could have intervened during the estimates hearings on 26 and 27 May and corrected the statements made by officials. He says he shoulders no responsibility for how the estimates committee was misled. He said on 2CC on Monday, 16 June, “I’m not responsible for comments that officials make at estimates.” However, the facts are that in March 2007 Mr Stanhope indicated that he had personally narrowed the field of sites under initial consideration by confining the search to Hume. I quote from document No 6 of 23 May 2007, Stanhope media release “Gas Fired Power Station Could Help Secure Supply”:

In relation to the possible siting of a gas-fired power station I asked officials some weeks ago whether they might be able to identify land at Hume.

In fact, the Chief Minister made multiple self-contradictory statements to estimates, and this is what happens when someone makes things up as he goes. He further said, more or less what he said today, that he does not get close to the decision making but that he is made “vaguely aware”. How aware is “vaguely aware”?

The power station project has alarmed Tuggeranong residents, who believe that the power station is too close to their homes and will pollute the valley with nitrogen oxide emissions. Did the Chief Minister think people would not notice perhaps? Or is it just that he has become so hidebound and arrogant that he is used to being able to ram through whatever unpalatable proposal he likes, just as he did with the closure of 23 schools?

We know, don’t we, what Mr Stanhope thinks about Tuggeranong. We have a lovely quote from page 184 of Hansard of 6 March 2007:

… Mr Slimeball from Tuggeranong. He loves it down there in the gutter.

… … … …

Mr Smyth is comfortable down there in the gutter. He likes it there, down with the cigarette butts and the dog turds and the wasted life.

That is what he thinks about the people of Tuggeranong! That is the contempt he has for the people in Tuggeranong. In short, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope owed it to the people of Canberra to have got this project right and to have looked after its citizens first and foremost. Also, what did Jon Stanhope do about ensuring the health and safety of the people of Canberra, particularly those who would be close to the site the Chief Minister had selected, right next door to housing, instead of in a removed industrial area, the site preferred by ActewAGL?

The health minister was asked during the health estimates hearing on 21 May what information she had been given, and when, about the impact of the proposed power station in Tuggeranong on a health facility some 660 metres from the boundary of the project. Ms Gallagher replied:

I have received some correspondence on that, not just in health but in disability, and I am taking advice on both of those areas.

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