Page 330 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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So far all the responses to our second appropriation have been positive and I look forward to the Assembly’s support for the bill later this evening.

Gas-fired power station and data centre

MR COE: My question is to the Chief Minister. I refer to the Auditor-General’s report on a proposal for a gas-fired power station and data centre. The Auditor-General found:

The Chief Minister’s Department is responsible for coordination and facilitation of major projects for community and business development in the ACT. However, no formal policies for dealing with strategic projects existed within the Chief Minister’s Department.

Why did not the Chief Minister’s Department have formal policies or procedures for dealing with strategic projects?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the member for the question. I think it is a fair point. It is a fair criticism, and there is a recommendation that the government has accepted that the government should adopt criteria to define a strategic project and a strategic project facilitation process. I think it needs to be remembered, though, that the strategic projects group was actually only formed earlier this year—I think half way through this particular process. We need to have some regard for the age of the unit. Certainly, the criticism is fairly made that some of the issues in relation to the basis on which the project facilitation unit would operate had not been clarified to the extent that they might have been. It is a reasonable recommendation. It is a fair criticism and the government accepts the criticism.

Having said that, I think it is of relevance—and it is one of the fine ironies, of course—that the Liberal Party in the immediate past election campaign had the strategic projects facilitation unit at the top of its hit list. It was going to abolish the unit—

Mr Seselja: Not true.

MR STANHOPE: Yes, it is.

Mrs Dunne: Point of relevance, Mr Speaker.

MR STANHOPE: This was that part of the Chief Minister’s Department—

Mrs Dunne: Relevance.

MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, I think—

MR STANHOPE: that was actually on the hit list.

MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister!

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