Page 516 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 8 March 2011

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drastically altered. The reference to community has been deleted and they are, in fact, sadly the third party insurance for this government.

In short, what we have here, as with Wilde’s play, is a farcical comedy. But comparisons and jests aside, this has very real and serious repercussions for the lives of many Canberrans.

Recall Ms Gallagher’s statement regarding the health portfolio on 11 September 2008:

All plans are on the table.

It was not long after that we learnt she already had definite plans in the works to purchase Calvary hospital, which were progressed to the stage where the government had already written to the Little Company of Mary seeking a heads of agreement. As my colleague Mr Hanson has rightly noted regarding this issue, what she should have said is: “All of our plans are on the table, less those that are subject to closed-door deals, behind closed-door deals.”

What of the Gungahlin pool under Minister Barr’s watch? As the 2008 election was heating up, ACT Labor promised a $20 million aquatic centre which included a 50-metre pool and a 25-metre pool. In communications with the Gungahlin Community Council, an agreement was reached whereby the Community Council would be patient and wait and, in return for their patience, they would get a 50-metre pool.

My previous statement sounds a bit cumbersome, and that is because the government’s 2008 promise was nothing more than a repeat announcement of an existing project. We had heard this before—ACT Labor’s 2004 election promise to give the Gungahlin residents a 50-metre pool, which the government also reneged on after that election, the 2004 election.

According to the Gungahlin Community Council, the present excuse by the government in not finally giving the Gungahlin community its promised pool has been chalked up to the promised facility now not being commercially viable. So as a consolation, the Gungahlin community are not getting what they have been promised but instead a 25-metre pool with, to quote the government, “commercially viable facilities”, which falls short of what was initially promised by this government.

In this regard, Minister Barr is just an element of ACT Labor’s disregard in delivering on its election promises to local communities. I do not think that, when Mr Barr met with the school children at Good Shepherd Catholic primary school in Amaroo in 2009 to solicit their thoughts on the new pool, these kids asked for a 25-metre pool instead of a 50-metre pool. Politicians using children for political capital has to be a new low for this Assembly. Being insincere to school children speaks much about the minister’s ethics and priorities.

On the topic of childcare under Minister Burch, recall the minister’s promise to the Flynn community for more childcare places after Minister Barr shut down their school. Imagine how the Flynn community felt when they learnt that, out of the 110 or

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