Page 1086 - Week 03 - Thursday, 26 February 2009
MR COE: My question is to the Chief Minister. In 2002, Roads ACT claimed that opposition from the National Capital Authority was the reason the duplication of Fairbairn Avenue did not proceed. The Auditor-General has been unable to find any evidence of the NCA vetoing the project. Why did the ACT government decide not to duplicate Fairbairn Avenue in 2002?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Coe for the question. One has to delve back into the archives actually to get some of the information and history in relation to both roads that were the subject of the Auditor-General’s report. One of them, of course, Horse Park Drive commenced in 2000, under, as I understand it, the then Minister for Urban Services, Mr Brendan Smyth. Indeed, I am advised today that planning for the upgrade of Fairbairn—
Mrs Dunne: It was supposed to be duplication.
MR STANHOPE: No, it is not actually. The upgrade of Fairbairn commenced in 2001. The brief that I have received today from urban services is quite interesting, in the context of the Minister for Urban Services then, Mr Smyth. I think he is the only survivor of that era that we have, which is quite surprising—the only survivor and of course the biggest loser. I actually reflected on this. I was reflecting on this just the other day, with a sort of a quirky interest.
Mr Seselja: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the answer should be directly relevant to the question Mr Coe asked.
MR SPEAKER: Yes. Mr Stanhope, I do sense you are about to head somewhat off the question. I would ask you to come back to the specific question.
MR STANHOPE: We are talking about history here, going back into the archives to the period. And I need to go back to the other question which actually relates to decisions taken in 2000 and 2001 by the previous government, and the minister at the time was the now Deputy Leader of the Opposition and shadow treasurer, who at the time, was the Minister for Urban Services. As I prepared for this question today, which I expected, I reflected on Mr Smyth’s longevity and I was thinking about some of the stimulating television that is presented these days through shows such as The Biggest Loser. And Mr Smyth is the only person in the history of self-government who has lost three elections in a row.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Stanhope, I do not want to have to—
Mr Hanson: A point of order on relevance, Mr Speaker: Mr Smyth’s longevity and long and distinguished career are not relevant to the question that the minister was asked.
MR SPEAKER: One minute, Mr Stanhope. I have not yet made a finding on this point of order. I think the point of order is upheld. I do have the sense that you are