Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 17 Sept 2009) . . Page.. 4182 ..
We had been briefed … The shareholders received the minutes of the board’s consideration of various matters. I had also been briefed by my department, Treasury, on their discussions with Actew. Indeed, I had met with Actew. Yes, I think I was being kept updated at regular intervals.
Treasurer, did any of those briefings relate to technical matters, such as geotechnical studies or construction materials? If yes, what was the nature of those matters and how did you respond?
MS GALLAGHER: Again, the information I will provide to the Assembly this afternoon will go to some of the questions that you have, Mr Doszpot. In terms of the briefing I had from Actew, and indeed Treasury, yes, I understood that those studies were being undertaken. That was part of the reason to have the briefing. They said, “This is the work we are actually doing to finalise the costs of the enlarged Cotter Dam.”
In relation to the minutes of the board meetings that were provided to me and my other shareholder, I will have to take that part of the question on notice because I will have to review the minutes of the board that they forwarded to us. But certainly the technical aspects of the work that was being undertaken were explained to me.
As to the final cost of the results of that work, my previous answers in relation to being told this in the week of 20 August remain.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary question?
MR DOSZPOT: Treasurer, did any of those briefings relate to the various increases in the cost estimates since the Chief Minister’s announcement in 2007 that the dam would cost $145 million? If yes, what advice was given and how did you respond?
MS GALLAGHER: I think we have said a number of times in here that, yes, we were given an indication. Indeed, in December 2008 the indication was that the $145 million price tag, plus a 50 to 70 per cent caveat put on that in terms of potential increases in costs, was a public figure. I think Mr Seselja yesterday said he understood that figure was in the Canberra Times at the end of May or the beginning of May.
We were given an indication, certainly, that the costs were increasing and that Actew were finalising the detailed planning and environmental studies undertaken to get to that end point. Indeed, we were advised that they were having an independent analysis come in to check that work, to make sure that their costings would hold up. I was certainly informed of that as well. In my discussions with Treasury, I said to Treasury I was very pleased that they were having that independent analysis come in, to have a look at the cost increases, to run their ruler over it and to make sure that those costs that Actew were seeing in terms of the finalised figures would hold up in terms of scrutiny and the final cost of the enlarged Cotter Dam. So, yes, we were told that.
But as to the exact figure, I do not really know where you are heading with this. Yes, the government knew, and I think every Assembly member knew, that the cost of the