Page 4024 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013

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So we will not be supporting Mr Barr’s amendment. It waters down Mr Smyth’s motion, which is a very reasonable motion, and what we are seeing again from this government is words and rhetoric but when it comes to putting some specific dates and metrics around what they have promised to deliver, they are going weak at the knees. And what we are seeing again from Mr Barr is a refusal to actually provide any detail.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.35): I will speak to the amendment, Mr Assistant Speaker. Mr Barr’s speech was very instructive. I heard lots of words but I did not hear any commitment. I did not hear a champion for the project who could come in here and clearly lay out for all how this will happen and the time frames in which it will happen, except to say that the latest date he will present his investment-ready strategy is 15 October 2016, and that is the problem. That is three years away. Then when you add on top of that, potentially, four years for construction, you are talking about not having a world-class convention centre worthy of this city for probably seven years. That is the problem.

It is compounded when you think of the opportunities that are lost and it is compounded because even that seven-year time frame has not been committed to by the government. I did not hear a commitment of any kind to establish a body to oversee the project. And I did not hear a commitment from the government to put up the $9 million that the Ernst & Young review says would be required to get it investment ready.

Indeed, the minister said—he can correct me if I heard him wrongly—that he is quite happy to back the Canberra Business Council proposal that says the federal government should commit $10 million to do the work, because it would appear that he is not going to do that. The minister can get up and speak again but the Ernst & Young report that Mr Rattenbury speaks to, which is appendix E to the document that the Canberra Convention Bureau sent around, said that the cost is an investment of approximately $9 million to get it to investment-ready stage. Is the minister telling us that the government will stump up that $9 million?

Mr Barr: Not if the federal government is going to.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Barr, next time you are warned.

MR SMYTH: Not if the federal government will do it. So this project—

Mr Barr interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Barr! You are warned, Mr Barr.

MR SMYTH: This project is held in eternal limbo because the government will not commit to it. We have seen them commit $18 million in just this budget to capital metro. We know that the minister is spending money hand over fist on his stadium project but they cannot commit funds to enable this to get to the next stage quickly, and that is a shame. The minister is exposed.

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