Page 3757 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008

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Questions without notice

Gas-fired power station

MR SESELJA: Before I ask my question, I apologise to the house; Mrs Dunne and I have to attend a funeral so we will be leaving soon after the commencement of question time. I ask that Mrs Dunne be given the courtesy of asking her question before she leaves.

My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, did ActewAGL or any other representative of the Canberra technology city consortium approach the ACT government in February this year seeking to remove the requirement for a peaking power station from the deed of agreement over block 1671? Did your government refuse their request to remove the power station from the proposal?

MR STANHOPE: I cannot recall or say with any certainty or certitude that the government received an approach in February this year. I would certainly have to take advice and check the record in relation to that—in relation to the issue that is the subject of the question or, indeed, any other issue. I will take the question on notice. Suffice to say that I have no memory of the government agreeing or otherwise to any such request, but I am more than happy to have the record checked in relation to those issues.

Infrastructure program

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, what are the government’s plans for an infrastructure program that will build a better city and a stronger community that is ready for the future?

MR STANHOPE: As we are all aware, infrastructure is a vital component of economic growth and prosperity and is essential in providing for the broader social needs of the Canberra community, including our education, our health and our general wellbeing. In recent years—we are all aware of this—there has been a significantly increased emphasis across Australia on the need to maintain and enhance our national infrastructure to facilitate the continued growth of our economy.

The commonwealth government has most recently established a $20 billion building Australia fund to enable that work to proceed at a national level. Indeed, as members are aware, the ACT government is working closely with the commonwealth to identify Australia’s key infrastructure projects for the future, particularly those that are pertinent to the ACT or infrastructure that is relevant to us.

It was in that context that I recently released the projects that we the ACT government have identified for funding in our submission to Infrastructure Australia. Members would also be aware that, in that response to the commonwealth, I included projects around energy and water security, health and transport projects such as light rail for the ACT. I also included as a major or national infrastructure project worthy of consideration by Infrastructure Australia the possibility of a very fast train between Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and certainly Newcastle, if not Brisbane.

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