Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 28 August 2008) . . Page.. 3949 ..
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.43): Mr Corbell raised many of the issues that I would like to speak about. Towards the end of his speech he mentioned the glassworks, which I think opened last year. Unfortunately, it was only five years late and probably cost 40 per cent more than it should have cost. That is the standard story of the delivery of infrastructure in the ACT under the Stanhope Labor government. You cannot trust them to deliver infrastructure.
The Chief Minister loves to jump up in question time and regale the Assembly with his spending and the previous government’s spending, but you only have to look at budgets to see that in most years the government fails to deliver these services to the people of Canberra. In the 2002-03 budget the underspend was 37 per cent. In 2003-04 it was 36 per cent. In 2004-05 it was 48 per cent. In 2005-06 it was 48 per cent. In 2006-07, it was 38 per cent. It is a very succinct summary of the failure of Jon Stanhope and his government to deliver for the people of Canberra. And the projects go on. One could run case studies in mismanagement. I am sure the Australian Institute of Management will use them as case studies.
First and foremost is Gungahlin Drive. Have no doubt, Mr Speaker, that it is because of the failings of the former planning minister and his two bob each way promises to some people here and some people there about which route would be built. Gungahlin Drive started as a $53 million project with four lanes, two north and two south, and it was due to open in 2005. Early this year we got half a road at a cost of $120 million—double the price—with half the kilometreage of road that was promised. And we are now going to spend something like $90 million and at least four years duplicating the Gungahlin Drive duplication.
It is insane that in this day and age an infrastructure project of this size can be managed so ineptly. Yesterday we heard from Mr Hargreaves. He said, “And when we get elected we’ll keep delivering projects in the same way.” Everything will be late; everything will be over the cost. That is unacceptable.
Mr Corbell mentioned a step-down facility. The geriatric step-down facility that was promised by Michael Moore in March 2001 and funded in May 2001 in our budget was opened more than five years later. That is another failure. Then there is the project to link libraries, which was started by the former government and which took way too many years and way too many million dollars to deliver.
In 2005 Mr Corbell promised a mental health facility, to open in 2008. It was going to have 65 beds and include a youth facility. It is 2008 and the plans are yet to be put on public display so that the community can see what will be opened. It certainly will not be opening in 2008. More than likely there will not be a sod turned in 2008. This is another planning failure—another failure by the former health minister, another failure by the Stanhope Labor government to deliver critical services for the people of the ACT.
Then there is the new dam. The Chief Minister said, “No, we don’t need a new dam. The Liberals are wrong. We won’t need one for 20 years. We may never need one.” That was the rhetoric from the Chief Minister in 2004. He was caught out, caught