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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 March 2009) . . Page.. 1222 ..

had to duplicate that road—at a much, much greater cost than would have been the case if we had built the four-lane road at the outset. I recall during estimates inquiries in 2004 Mr Stefaniak and me asking questions of Roads ACT in relation to the duplication of the GDE if we went ahead with the duplication of the GDE at that stage. At that stage, to have duplicated the GDE would have added $30 million to the budget of $100 million that the government had already expended.

We are now in the situation where, four years down the track, the Stanhope government is going to begin this duplication of the GDE and it will cost something in the order of $100 million—$100 million of revenue from an unprecedented boom wasted on a road because of bad management. We have got half the road at twice the cost—and that cost is rising every day that we delay the duplication of that road, a road which should have been built and finished many years ago and which should have had four lanes. The GDE will become an icon of the shameful waste of the Stanhope government.

The Stanhope-Gallagher government has squandered the spoils of the booming economy in a range of ways, as I said. We have seen the $50,000 temporary sign for EpiCentre. I know that governments constantly spend more and more money on signage, and we have seen that in the not-quite-stimulus package that we will be debating later in the week. The Stanhope government’s preoccupation with signs is one of those things that make the average taxpayer scratch their heads. Some $50,000 on a sign for EpiCentre!

We saw the squandering of the spoils of the booming economy when the government built a site office at Harrison at a cost of $300,000. It should have cost $30,000. If you ask any other developer around town that has a site office and sales office on their development, they will tell you exactly how much it will cost, and at the end of that process they will pull it down and move it on to the next place. This is not happening here. Look at Harrison and the amount of irresponsible spending that went on there. One person involved in the landscape industry told me that through the main drag of Harrison there are about 100 tree guards around trees, on street trees. Each one of those tree guards costs the ACT taxpayer $1,000. That is $100,000 in tree guards alone.

You have to ask what the priorities of the government are when children with disabilities are being told today by the minister that they will not see any more money to meet their needs but we can afford to spend $300,000 on a site office and $100,000 on tree guards. It says a great deal about the wasteful mentality—the propensity to waste—of the Stanhope-Gallagher government.

And what of the prison, a facility that has a per-bed cost that is the second highest in the country, at around $430,000 for every individual prisoner who will be housed in that facility. That facility was opened as an election stunt on 11 September 2009. It is ironic that Canberra has its own 9/11 as well. It is a facility whose delays will be costing the Stanhope government millions of dollars. We know that, and we know that the current minister responsible has already fessed up to in excess of $3 million in costs as a result of the delays. This is a facility that has a full complement of staff but no prisoners. This is a facility that has $75,000 available for prisoner clothing but no prisoners to wear it.

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