Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4652..
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT - STANDING COMMITTEE
Further Report on the Acton-Kingston Land Swap
MR MOORE (5.30): Mr Speaker, it gives me pleasure to present Report No. 23 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment entitled "Further Report on the Acton/Kingston Land Swap", together with the extracts of the minutes of proceedings. I move:
That the report be noted.
Is it not timely, Mr Speaker, that at the same time as we receive the Government response to Report No. 11 of the Standing Committee, the Interim Report on the Acton/Kingston Land Swap, we also have the opportunity to table a further report on the Acton-Kingston land swap, Report No. 23? The committee recommends in this report, Mr Speaker, that the Government make a statement to the Legislative Assembly during the first sittings of 1997 about developments affecting the Acton-Kingston land swap. The statement should specifically address the following questions: What is the Government's negotiating position in discussions now under way with the Commonwealth? The reason why we raise that issue is that, after a public briefing for the committee from the appropriate officers, it became clear to members of the committee that either the Government has no negotiating position - that is the perception that I am under - or there is a possibility that the Government did not wish to reveal its negotiating position.
The reason I put up the second option as a possibility, Mr Speaker, was that it was an argument I heard Mr Major putting on radio about why it is that he will not comment on the Euro currency debate that is going on in the UK at the moment. He does not want to give away his negotiating position. He likened it to a hand of poker and said that when he goes in to negotiate with other EEC countries the last thing he wants everybody else to have is a situation where he effectively has his cards turned up. I do not believe that that is the case here, Mr Speaker. We could give the benefit of the doubt to the Government on this.
We also believe it appropriate that the statement address what are the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing the swap of land at Kingston for the land at Acton. The committee was very keen to draw attention to this because generally within the committee, and, I must say, I think within the community, there does not appear to be resistance to the development of the Kingston foreshore, which is one of the Government's goals. The Kingston foreshore seems to be causing us, at this stage, having been through a reasonable process, a minimal amount of difficulty.
We also have asked that the statement include the advantages and disadvantages of separating the Acton and Kingston sites and abandoning the idea of a swap. I think it is appropriate to come back to the Assembly and deal with that. The statement should talk about the timescale for action on both Acton and Kingston, what is being proposed for the Acton Peninsula, and what is the process by which any proposal for its development will be assessed. We still have this great gap in information as to what you want to use the Acton Peninsula for. Until we have that information it is difficult for the Assembly to make a rational decision on it. It is certainly the view of the committee that it is very difficult to make a decision.