Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 July 2008) . . Page.. 2725 ..
population growth ahead of time, and not provide bandaid solutions. We will aim to prevent bottlenecks and shortages before they arise. We will rectify the backlog in infrastructure works that has built up under Labor. We will appoint an independent infrastructure commissioner to regularly audit the state of our infrastructure, to consult the community on their priorities and to report annually to the parliament on what has been achieved.
The infrastructure commissioner will be backed by an independent board which will include a balance of industry and community reps. This board will enhance community input, ensure that private sector expertise is heard in the debate and will strengthen the independent scrutiny of government investment. The Canberra Liberals will create a stand-alone public works committee in the Legislative Assembly, because this has never been properly scrutinised in the Assembly. So we will get the advice up-front and we will have an infrastructure plan that deals with all of the areas, so that we can deal with infrastructure in a holistic way, rather than having the “patch-up and catch-up” method of doing things that we have seen under this government. Then, when the major works are being done, they will be scrutinised by the public works committee. So we will get it coming in and we will scrutinise it coming out. This will help to improve the situation. It will make a real and significant difference to the way infrastructure is delivered.
But, as I said, whatever you put in place, you can’t prevent politicians from making stupid decisions, and that is what we have had under this government. It was a stupid decision to build a one-lane GDE. It does not matter whether you have an infrastructure commissioner advising you; this government chose to make those decisions. It was a stupid decision to defer building a dam. We have seen delay, delay and delay—getting reports and doing studies, when blind Freddy could see that we were running out of water, that we could not afford to wait and that we needed to increase our capacity. It has taken them most of this term in government, and most of two terms in government, to realise that we need to act on our water situation.
This government’s legacy is one of catch-up and patch-up. We have a clear plan to enhance infrastructure. At a time of these billion-dollar windfall revenues, the people of the ACT deserve better than what they have been getting from this mob, and we have got a plan to do it.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4.11): You can’t do anything about politicians who make stupid decisions—how true those words were.
I will speak briefly about today’s MPI. The prompt and efficient delivery of infrastructure projects is an important issue for the Canberra community and is worthy of discussion. There have been some noteworthy failures over the term of government of those on both sides of this place. Similarly, the maintenance infrastructure is important and is an issue that is raised with me time and time again by constituents. In my remarks today I will touch on both major infrastructure projects like the Gungahlin Drive extension, which has already been talked about to some extent, and, just as importantly, the maintenance of municipal infrastructure. The appearance of Canberra and the maintenance of our public municipal infrastructure is, as I discussed last week during the budget debate, a most important subject. Indeed, it is possibly one of the most important responsibilities of this Assembly.