Page 3671 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 23 October 2013

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I commend the amendments to the Assembly, and I thank Mr Wall for raising this issue because it is one of undoubted interest to many residents in Tuggeranong.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.51): Madam Speaker, it is a very interesting amendment. I am not sure why you would want to remove all that Mr Wall has put in part (1) of his motion. It tells the story for the official record. I am sorry; it only omits (1)(f). I have misread it; I do apologise. But in part (2), it calls on the Treasurer to consider the application. The Treasurer has already told us he is considering the application. I think what Mr Wall is seeking to achieve here is to send to the Treasurer a very clear message from the Assembly that they would like these fees waived, and we would like this pool to be built as quickly as possible.

Mr Barr: But if it’s not in accordance with the law, Brendan, you’re not going to ask me to break the law, are you?

MR SMYTH: No, I am asking—well, this is a direction from the Assembly. It is guidance from the Assembly. The Assembly does this all the time.

MADAM SPEAKER: Through the chair, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Isn’t it funny? We are now very worried—

Mr Barr: Well, it won’t be today, will it?

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, Mr Barr!

MR SMYTH: Madam Speaker, this is the man who stood in front of the Property Council in June last year and told them the commence and complete fees were going. There was a round of applause, a huge round of applause, and it has never happened. So given his contrary nature on commence and complete, it is more than within the remit of the Assembly to give him some guidance. It does not direct him to; it calls on the Treasurer to waive. And that is not an unreasonable thing. This place moves motions all the time calling on ministers to do something. Of course, one would call on the minister to do it within the confines of the law at all times. So I think it is a bit sad that he would try to hide behind that defence.

But there is a problem here because there is not a lot of certainty out in the community about commence and complete fees. We have a Treasurer who said they were going. We have a planning minister who said, “Oh no, they’re not.” We know who won that one, and it was not Mr Barr. There are many in the property community who still scratch their heads about that lunch last year where the Treasurer leapt up and made this announcement. Maybe it was just a brain-snap. Who knows? Maybe a thought bubble appeared and he thought, “Here’s something good I can announce.” Indeed, I remember Ross Solly, a seasoned political commentator, being quite taken aback on the day. But I guess what none of us have been taken aback by is the fact that nothing actually happened.

Mr Barr: Well, that’s not true.

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