Page 4022 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 20 September 2011

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MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition), by leave: I think it is important that we get a few things on the record on this and I think it is important in relation to this particular statement. At the heart of it and at the heart of the office accommodation strategy is the question of this $432 million office. This is an opportunity for the government to abandon bad policy. Unfortunately, the Chief Minister has attached herself to this policy. With the change of leadership in the Labor Party there was the opportunity for Katy Gallagher to walk away from this project because it is the wrong project. Spending $432 million on a government office building that we do not need is something that should be abandoned. I would again today call on the government to abandon this project.

But, unfortunately, the Chief Minister has tied herself to this project. She now owns it and she has indicated that this government wants to push ahead with it, regardless of whether it is a good idea, regardless of whether that money could be better spent elsewhere, regardless of whether office accommodation could be delivered in a more efficient and more effective manner and regardless of the impact that it may have on our town centres in concentrating so much of the public service into this one building which will become a white elephant down the track.

I would again call on the government to abandon this project. It is a slap in the face to taxpayers who are seeing local infrastructure and local services being neglected. It is a slap in the face to those hardworking families who are being asked to pay more and more and are facing serious cost-of-living pressures that this government would put the highest infrastructure priority on a $432 million government office building which we simply do not need. I would call on the Chief Minister and the government to do the right thing and walk away from this project.

They do seem locked into it. The Chief Minister had the opportunity to walk away from it when she became leader. She chose not to. She has tied herself to it. She should untie herself from it. She should admit that she was wrong. She should admit that this is a bad project that will have bad ramifications for the community, and taxpayers in particular, and abandon this project for the sake of all Canberrans.

Mitchell—chemical fire

Statement by minister

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services), by leave: I rise to give members an account of last week’s serious chemical fire in Mitchell and to outline how the government and its agencies are responding to ensure the continuing safety of the Canberra community and the health of its environment.

I do so to demonstrate this government’s commitment to transparency and accountability and to ensure that reliable and up-to-date information is readily available to the public. I will undertake to provide subsequent advice to the Assembly as necessary.

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