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Pleasure Dome scrapped! Money for health instead!

By 27 January 2012 15

Chief Minister Gallagher has come to the conclusion that an election year is no time to be spending half a billion dollars on a new monument to the power and glory of the ACT Government. Instead the money will go into the beloved health system:

The Chief Minister and Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher, and the Deputy Chief Minister and Treasurer, Andrew Barr, today visited The Canberra Hospital and announced the Government will be investing an extra half a billion dollars in public health infrastructure across Canberra.

The ACT Labor leadership team said that the Government’s first priority was the delivery of health services for Canberrans – including building a new sub-acute hospital in northern Canberra – and announced the additional health funding would be sourced by transferring funding earmarked for the Civic Government office block.

“This decision means almost half a billion dollars in additional funding will be devoted to the delivery of new health infrastructure across Canberra – including a new sub-acute hospital,” the Chief Minister said.

What next? Selling off the arboretum for apartments?

At least things don’t look quite so grim for the Gungahlin Penal Battalion.

UPDATE: Zed Seselja is again channelling Tony Abbott and asking what this means about Chiefly trustworthiness:

Katy Gallagher took another credibility blow today by scrapping the government’s $432 million office block, a clearly political response to a project she signed off on as Treasurer only a few months ago, ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said today.

“This is a building which ACT Labor said Canberra simply could not do without, that it would not compete for funding for hospitals, and that it would save taxpayers $34 million a year,” Mr Seselja said.

“But this was clearly not true, as the government has been unable to justify these claims, even after spending $5.7 million of taxpayer dollars to justify their office block plans.

“The real question is, after this latest half billion dollar backflip – can Katy Gallagher’s word ever be trusted? She has a long record of backflips and broken promises.

Further Update: The Greens have announced they’re very happy with this decision:

“The Greens have long argued that we need to make sure that we investigate all the options for providing government office accommodation,” Greens Planning spokesperson, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, said today.

“Today’s announcement reflects the reality that there are other ways apart from the single building model that may well be better options for the Territory.

“The single building model needed to be challenged and we are pleased that the Government will be looking at alternatives such as retrofitting some of the City’s vacant office accommodation.

“The ACT has the highest rate of office vacancies in Australia so it is likely that refurbishing some of that space will cost less, have less environmental impact and deliver improved accommodation to our public servants.

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15 Responses to Pleasure Dome scrapped! Money for health instead!
#1
gooterz11:53 am, 27 Jan 12

Had they actually spent money on the battlestation? planning work etc? or was it just a lets do this writte on a napkin at lunch?

#2
qbngeek11:57 am, 27 Jan 12

YAY \o/

Someone finally grew a brain somewhere in the council.

#3
Keijidosha1:00 pm, 27 Jan 12

The decision to axe (or at least shelve) the much derided pleasure dome in favour of more funding for health seems to me like an overwhelmingly positive move, regardless of any underlying political motives. Your cynicism baffles me, JB.

#4
Thumper1:24 pm, 27 Jan 12

A good decision, however JB’s cynicism is warranted.

#5
qbngeek1:49 pm, 27 Jan 12

Thumper said :

A good decision, however JB’s cynicism is warranted.

I agree. The fact it is an election year is the only reason for the change. It will be back once Labor are voted back in.

#6
astrojax3:26 pm, 27 Jan 12

another election for a territory government – katie or zed: all i can see is a sunless sea…

#7
dtc3:29 pm, 27 Jan 12

I have to say the Libs (ACT and national) are quite amusing. When the ALP does what the Libs say should be done (pleasure dome, pokies etc), instead of claiming it shows the Libs have better policies or ‘congratulating’ the ALP on making the right decision, they chose to run it as an issue of trust.

I know its politics, but arguing against something and then claiming a person is untrustworthy because they agree with you is just ridiculous. Indecisive perhaps, or making policies without all the facts perhaps. But its not a trust issue – esp with the ACT ALP since I cannot recall the pleasure dome being an election issue (or even an election policy, although I may be wrong there)

#8
johnboy3:31 pm, 27 Jan 12

the pleasure dome appeared out of the blue in the last budget, and appears to be heading back to whence it came.

I got the feeling it was a stanhopian vision.

#9
Mysteryman3:37 pm, 27 Jan 12

Finally something from the ACT government that I agree with! Incredible.

#10
cranky5:44 pm, 27 Jan 12

On a (very) rare trip down Northbourne today, I was interested to see the row of “For Lease” signs on virtually every office building.

Perhaps a sheltered walkway joining them up would give us a horizontal version of the Pleasure Dome, and assist the local poor building owners in a silver bullet solution?

#11
Micky_P9:22 pm, 27 Jan 12

As much as flip flops should be giggled at – flopping to a brand new hospital is probably the best flop you could ask for.

Hopefully they can turn the first sod sooner rather than later.

#12
dungfungus8:13 am, 28 Jan 12

Actually, the pleasure dome is still being built but by the private sector with the ACT Government being the tenant. In the long term this will be a bad outcome for ACT ratepayers.

#13
welkin3111:15 am, 28 Jan 12

I like JB’s – “Selling off the arboretum for apartments?”
I can not see a great need to spend half a Billion on Health.
Why not all calm down and leave the money where it is for now.
Why rush from one standout bad decision you have just backed away from – to another decision ?

dungfungus says – “Actually, the pleasure dome is still being built but by the private sector with the ACT Government being the tenant. In the long term this will be a bad outcome for ACT ratepayers.”
I thought the idea was to substitute existing empty offices for the Pleasure Dome.

#14
dungfungus12:29 pm, 28 Jan 12

welkin31 said :

I like JB’s – “Selling off the arboretum for apartments?”
I can not see a great need to spend half a Billion on Health.
Why not all calm down and leave the money where it is for now.
Why rush from one standout bad decision you have just backed away from – to another decision ?

dungfungus says – “Actually, the pleasure dome is still being built but by the private sector with the ACT Government being the tenant. In the long term this will be a bad outcome for ACT ratepayers.”
I thought the idea was to substitute existing empty offices for the Pleasure Dome.

Exactly – Gallagher and Barr are like a couple of kids demanding their own sandpit – nothing else will do.

#15
dungfungus3:27 pm, 29 Jan 12

johnboy said :

the pleasure dome appeared out of the blue in the last budget, and appears to be heading back to whence it came.

I got the feeling it was a stanhopian vision.

If Stanhope had the vision then the plans would reveal a secret, bushfire proof escape tunnel from his office to the aboretum. The tunnel would have a one-man, light rail green electricity transporter (sponsored by ActewAGL) and street art would adorn the walls of the tunnel.
I’m still working on the rest of his vision and as soon as I get more fairy dust I will get back to you.

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