Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 7 August 2008) . . Page.. 3065 ..
changing project specifications—notably, reducing this road from four lanes to two lanes—and legal challenges because of the obstinacy of the former planning minister who wanted to put this road through the middle of the AIS. Let us remember that.
This road was to go through the middle of the AIS. Perhaps having a road running through the middle of the AIS was to help the athletes at the AIS with acclimatising for Beijing or something—who knows. But the stupidity of the position that it was initially going to go through the middle of the AIS, I think, right from the start, is that this road, handled by a Labor government—
Mrs Dunne: It was going in a trench, though.
MR SMYTH: That is right; it was going to go in a trench. Then to ameliorate the impact, we are going to put it maybe half underground and it was going to go in a trench. Dig a trench. That is right; I had forgotten the trench. There were all these options. In time to come, management classes at universities will study Jon Stanhope’s handling of the Gungahlin Drive fiasco as a case study in what not to do to deliver a major capital works project. They will study this in years to come.
I think the pathetic attempts by the Chief Minister to justify his announcement to duplicate Gungahlin Drive late on 23 July further compound the embarrassment of the government. I have never heard of an $83 million announcement dropped by a territory government at about 5.40 on a Wednesday afternoon. And the sight of the Chief Minister scurrying around to the TV stations to try to get his scone on the TV and on the phone late into the night talking it up on the radio so that he can claim that he got there first was absolutely embarrassing for the prestige of any government.
But the problem now is that we are stuck with it. The problem is that the taxpayer will have to pay for it and the problem for the Labor Party is that the constituents of the ACT will remember it come 18 October this year.
MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (4.06): In terms of the announcement, I would just like to quote Mr Gentleman who has observed that there are no prizes for second. There is absolutely no prize for second. In fact, coming second just means that you blokes are the first of a lot of losers.
We have just heard a fairly significant 15 minutes of drivel. Let us put the record straight a little. I am really pleased to be able to speak about the Gungahlin Drive extension and not the Gungahlin Drive expressway. I was not really aware from the title of the MPI what tack Mr Smyth would take. I have to tell you, Mr Speaker, that I am none the wiser now. I regard it as a motherhood statement that the GDE is a matter of importance, because it has been a matter of importance to the Stanhope Labor government since at least 2001.
I was not sure what the Liberal Party thought of it. They were very obstructionist to the Stanhope Labor government’s plans. They and their federal colleagues managed to delay the start of this road for two or three years. But, of course, that does not matter to Mr Smyth because he is good at two things: talking and sounding sincere about what he is saying and rewriting history. He is an expert in both fields.