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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 June 2011) . . Page.. 2829 ..

MR COE: Yes, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, why did Minister Barr and officials from the Economic Development Directorate directly discuss interest payments in the estimates committee hearings and state, “The cost of borrowing is included in the feasibility analysis”?

MS GALLAGHER: Because it is, Mr Coe. It has been—

Mr Hanson: You said that decision hasn’t been made yet.

MS GALLAGHER: Well, the final decisions. What we have done, and I think this is where the opposition fail to understand the budget process, is that we have foreshadowed, in the two final years of the outyears of this four-year estimates period, an indication of the current costings for the government office block. Decisions on the budget impact of that and decisions around financing will be taken as the project approaches those final decision-making stages.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, how will your new pledge for openness and accountability prevent confusing and contradictory public statements by you and your ministers?

MS GALLAGHER: The openness and accountability is by foreshadowing this major infrastructure project in the final two outyears of the budget. We did not need to do that, Mr Smyth. Indeed, we could have dropped that in—after we successfully win the next election—and not have had the discussions—

Members interjecting

MS GALLAGHER: I am optimistic.

Mr Seselja: You really do take for granted the community, don’t you?

MS GALLAGHER: I do not take it for granted at all, Mr Seselja, but I am optimistic; you have to be in these jobs. The question that Mr Smyth asked was around claims of openness and transparency. Well, openness and transparency is about being clear and putting this infrastructure project in our final two years of the budget cycle as an indication to the community and to this place and allowing this place the time it needs to accept or discuss the importance of this project. That is open and that is transparent, Mr Smyth.

MR HARGREAVES: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. My question is to the Treasurer. Is the revelation of intentions in the contemplative stage or an attempt to engage people from all sides of the chamber to be involved in a positive way forward?

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