Page 1863 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 5 May 2009

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On 10 December 2008, Auditor-General’s report No 7 of 2008 titled Proposal for a gas-fired power station and data centre—site selection process was referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for inquiry. This report presents the results of a performance audit that reviewed the government’s decision-making process relating to the selection and offer of a site for the proposed gas-fired power station and data centre. The committee received a briefing from the Auditor-General in relation to the report on 19 March 2009. The committee has resolved to inquire further into the report and is expecting to report to the Legislative Assembly for the ACT as soon as practicable.

Exhibition Park Corporation Repeal Bill 2009

Debate resumed from 29 March 2009, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.26): The opposition will not be supporting this bill. This bill is symptomatic of the Stanhope-Gallagher government’s approach to so many things. It lacks vision, it lacks innovation and it reeks of the dead hand of a government that has no ideas.

This corporation is a success story. The board has done a wonderful job in bringing EPIC to its current state of development over a number of years and, while doing this, has built up a reserve that can be now used to fund further development of the site. Moreover, the board has a vision for EPIC but this has, of course, been thwarted by the Stanhope-Gallagher government’s complete lack of capacity to have a strategy or a vision for EPIC itself.

The board developed a master plan some years ago and Mr Stanhope and his government sat on it for years. Then, reluctantly, in 2008, he told the board to get about its business and leave development matters to the government.

A particular innovation from the board was to develop more accommodation options at EPIC, with lower cost options that would appeal to existing users, people such as those that have been recently at the Folk Festival, and which would attract new users, particularly grey nomads, and new events. This strategy would provide EPIC with a more sustainable flow of revenue, which is a very reasonable approach.

What was the response of the Stanhope-Gallagher government? They said, “Forget it. We will take this idea over and we will run with it.” And this is a perfect example of how the Stanhope-Gallagher government operate: not having any sense of strategy or any sense of innovation but when somebody else comes up with a good idea they will simply snatch it away. Is it any wonder that no-one wants to work for a government that act in such a way?

The minister’s claim was that the repeal of the corporation will reduce overheads by around $50,000 per year. On one hand, of course it will. That is precisely the amount that is spent on the sitting fees for the current board. Sack the board, save $50,000.

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