Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 August 2008) . . Page.. 2968 ..
the business community. Does ramming something secret beneath the radar build stronger communities? Does running a sham health impact assessment build stronger communities? Does refusing to undertake an EIS until finally you are overwhelmed by community opinion build stronger communities? Is the way to build a stronger economy to contribute to stronger communities leading the proponents up the garden path and siting the damn thing in the wrong place? The proponents must be wondering what the hell they walked into. Well done, Stanhope government.
There is the Tharwa bridge. There was no consultation with that community. There was no bringing along of the community on that one. As Dr Foskey quite rightly pointed out earlier, if you are going to build stronger communities, you empower them; you bring your communities along with you. Mr Hargreaves just said to them, “Well, guess what: this bridge is going to fall into the river, so we’ll have to build a concrete one.” That was a good piece of governance, was it not? What an investment that was! “We will divest the old wooden bridge because it is going to fall into the river.” Well done, Stanhope government.
Of course, the Gungahlin Drive extension is another example. The budget was brought down in April, and in April the government had no idea they might be considering a duplication of the GDE. That is why there was nothing written into the budget. The Chief Minister today talked about a “rolling budget” to belatedly talk away his dilemma where, again, he was caught with his pants down.
This Chief Minister is constantly caught with his pants down. We have seen him caught with his pants down over the Macarthur power station. We have seen him caught with his pants down over the data centre and now the EIS. We have seen him caught with his pants down on the Tharwa bridge when he had to step in and relieve the hapless minister for municipal services and reserve the decisions about what to do about the Tharwa bridge. We have seen him caught with his pants down over Gungahlin Drive extension. We have seen him caught with his pants down over the FireLink project. We have seen him caught with his pants down over Tharwa Drive, which was neglected for five years. We have seen him caught with his pants down over the bus network. He used to be known as Captain Underpants, but now he should be known as Captain Pantsdown! What a government.
Mr Speaker, in all seriousness, a good government has to have the strength and the purpose to defend the public interest. This government has failed again and again to invest in this community.
MR STEFANIAK (Brindabella) (4.18): This is a very interesting matter of public importance, and I would like to make just a couple of points. I cannot see how you are actually building a better city and a stronger community for Canberrans by not taking them with you. I will just deal with one case in point, and that was the absolute sham, disaster and the total lack of real consultation in relation to closing 23 schools. That still causes great angst in our community.
We have been out talking to communities, in particular, the Cook, Flynn, Hall and Tharwa communities and several other communities, and they certainly do not think closing their schools builds a better city or a stronger community for Canberrans.