Page 3642 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015

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order 79, the Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Hanson be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of government transparency in the ACT

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (3.54): I am delighted to be able to speak on this important issue today. When it comes to rhetoric, at least it is something I am sure that we will all be able to agree on in this place. The problem is when the rubber hits the road and we see the reality of what has happened with this government over the last 14 or 15 years as opposed to the rhetoric. You can go all the way back to Jon Stanhope who, in the lead-up to the 2001 election, made a whole raft of promises, including that cabinet papers would be released after six years. Of course, that never came to fruition.

But this is a very important issue and it arises again over a number of key frustrations that I and my team have been experiencing lately. We saw at the end of question time the refusal of the Minister for Capital Metro to outline the costs of the extension to Russell for light rail. It is information that he has got. The tendering process, as I understand it, has finished. He has got that information. He knows what the cost is to the community but refuses to tell the community—and it is their money. This is not the Labor Party’s money; it is not the Greens’ money; it is the community’s money, and the government is charged with expending that money on behalf of the community. So it is fair to say: tell us what that amount is.

Equally, Madam Assistant Speaker, I have been incredibly frustrated lately by the refusal of this government to outline the cost of the University of Canberra hospital. That is a project the government said at the last election that they would undertake. They never gave us costings; they never submitted a cost to Treasury. There have never been any costs, other than indicative costs many years ago—I think about $240 million. Since those indicative costs they did not take anything to the election and they have not done anything since. This is a government that for three years or more has been expending the community’s money. They said, “We’re going to build a hospital.” What we do know is they have cut 60 beds. But this is a government that for three years has not outlined the cost of doing this.

We know what the template is. It will be very interesting to see the demands for everything to be costed in the lead-up to the next election, as it should be. It is ironic that, in the same breath, I am sure, as it is demanding to see costings submitted to Treasury and so on, this government, through its own example, has now spent three or more years saying it is going to build a major piece of infrastructure—indeed, a hospital—without releasing any costings. The hypocrisy stinks.

But this is not a recent phenomenon. As I said, you can take it all the way back through Mr Stanhope in the lead-up to the 2001 election and all the way through to question time today where this government has a track record of a failure in transparency, a rhetoric that is not matched by its actions. I remind members that it was this government that said that there would be no school closures. In the lead-up to the 2004 election the minister or spokesperson came out and said, “There will be no school closures. There are no school closures.” But it was this Chief Minister who, immediately after the election, started the process of cutting schools.

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