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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 2142

Mr NAIRN (7:35 PM) —Tonight I wish to raise again an issue which is of great importance to the residents of Jerrabomberra and Letchworth in my electorate near Queanbeyan—that is, the ACT government's decision to locate a jail at Hume, virtually on the doorsteps of those residents. The only residents near the site of this proposed jail are people who do not get a vote in the ACT. The Stanhope government made this decision after extensive planning work took place for a site at Symonston, but when ACT voting residents decided that they did not want the jail near them, he chose to move the site near residents who do not get a vote in the ACT.

Earlier this year, in January, he announced that Hume would be the site for this jail and claimed that the reason he was choosing Hume was that the Commonwealth would not provide land in the Majura Valley for the purpose. He said that his preferred site was the Majura Valley near the airport area but that because, he claimed, the Commonwealth refused to provide land, he reluctantly chose a site at Hume. He said at the time that the Majura Valley site was the preferred site and the Hume site was inferior.

At the time, in January, I said that the Commonwealth simply needed some time to look at the issues related to surplus defence land in the airport region. I said that it would be irresponsible for the federal government to provide land before ensuring that the integrity of Canberra Airport could be maintained for the future, and I said, `It will take a few months to have a decent look at it.' I thought that was pretty responsible. But Stanhope decided that he would embark on his jail irrespective of that. Even though there were public meetings and motions moved requesting him to hold off until the Commonwealth had an opportunity to look properly at the vacant land in the airport region, he proceeded.

In June, I was able to announce that cabinet had looked at the matter and had decided that there was land in the Majura Valley that could be made available to the ACT government. At the time when I made that announcement, Jon Stanhope hurriedly went out to the public with a draft preliminary assessment for the Hume site. I worked in the planning area for a long time before politics, and I have never, ever seen a draft preliminary assessment go out on public exhibition. I think it was a first. It was clearly hurriedly put out by Jon Stanhope to try to make out that he was actually doing something about this jail at the Hume site. We have offered this site in the Majura Valley to the ACT government. Mr Stanhope said in January that it was his preferred site. He is now saying, `No, I think we will continue with the Hume site'—and claims that they have spent too much money. The ACT government claim that they have spent $200,000 on the Hume site, which is 0.0018 per cent of the budget. They spent a lot more than that on the Symonston site, which Mr Stanhope was happy to reject when residents who vote in the ACT did not want it. It is a small amount of the budget.

Mr Stanhope said in January that the Majura Valley was the preferred site and that the Hume site was inferior. He is now saying something different. He has also been dishonest with the residents of Jerrabomberra and Letchworth—and with the residents of Canberra as well. He claims that he has been working on this for 15 to 18 months, but he only announced in January that Hume was going to be the site. That is seven months, not 15 to 18 months. He has also been dishonest in saying that the Hume site is as good as the Majura site, when in January he said that Majura was the preferred site and Hume was an inferior site.

I call on Jon Stanhope to move away from Hume and go back to his preferred site—the Majura Valley. That is the location where his ACT prison should be. He should do it now and stop being dishonest and a bad neighbour to the residents of Jerrabomberra and Letchworth. (Time expired)