Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2011) . . Page.. 2686 ..
sure that the words are accurately recorded. If members look at those amendments they will see that it includes the word “directorate” and “Chief Minister’s” and whatever the particular line is. It also transfers money between the various lines.
I have confirmed with the Chief Minister and Treasurer that this is revenue neutral; all it is doing is bringing the actual amount as it pertains to each of the directorates following the amendments in the AA. So first and foremost, given that they are revenue neutral, the opposition will be supporting those amendments. I just want to put that as a general cover to the start of this debate on the budget itself.
In regard to the Legislative Assembly, there was generally little to say as a result of the hearings. There were probably three or four issues that did come out of it this year. The first is the great big new office building, and it was interesting that one of the proposals is that there be a sky bridge that connects the Assembly to the new government office building. I would like to start with just the lack of consultation, and I think probably the insult that has been given to the Assembly and the members therein. We asked the Speaker had he been consulted and he said there was some initial consultation. But this does have great effect on the future of the Assembly. At paragraph 269 on page 20 of the committee’s report, the committee expressed its concern:
The Committee is concerned that the construction of the proposed Government office building and the housing of the Ministerial wing in the building ties the housing of the Legislative Assembly to its current location. This will have occurred without consultation with the Members of the Legislative Assembly.
There is talk of a larger Assembly. I note for instance Terry Snow funded Colin Stewart to do some plans for particularly City Hill but Civic at large as well, and one of the central things that Mr Stewart looked at was moving the Assembly for instance to the head of Northbourne Avenue. That could not occur if the great big office building is built and we are connected, because if you are going to put the ministerial wing into that building it really does tie the Assembly to this location for all time. So again the lack of genuine consultation on this project is highlighted by that fact.
I think members will be amused because those of us that attended the architects awards all heard Mr Barr say that there will not be a sky bridge. Apparently somebody forgot to tell the rest of the government. Recommendation 24 states:
The Committee recommends that, should the Government office block proceed, it not be linked by a skybridge to the Legislative Assembly building.
The response, it is noted, says:
Linkages to the Assembly will be reconsidered as the design of the building progresses and the cost of such an option is assessed against the alternative final design options.
I think it is quite interesting that the government just does not say “Well, we are not going to build a sky bridge”. You have to think about where ministers will go if they come to the Assembly, and they will come here to the chamber. That means just going to the ground floor of their building and coming across here to this one. I think having