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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1422..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

You know this is puerile. Do you want me to stand up in here every day you do not turn up at a function, Mr Humphries, and say, "Mr Humphries was not there. He was represented, once again, by either Mr Smyth or the ever-present Mrs Cross." We are watching the byplays with great interest. I do not know whether you think you are off to the Senate, but the jockeying is on.

Section 78, Griffith

MS TUCKER: My question is directed to Mr Corbell as Minister for Planning. One of the contentious planning issues in the last Assembly was the Liberal proposal to redevelop section 78 in Griffith, the old Griffith Primary School. Many people in the community want to keep the land for public use and not have it subdivided for housing. In the face of significant opposition, the Liberals backed down from selling the land and announced that they would undertake a detailed assessment of needs for community facilities in Griffith and the rest of South Canberra before proceeding with further planning for use of the site. Could you advise the Assembly of the progress of this needs assessment under the new government?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Tucker for the question. I am not aware of exactly where the needs assessment is at. A number of needs assessment contracts have been let for both the north side and the south side of Canberra, and that work is progressing. I will come back to Ms Tucker with more detail on those examinations, but I can confirm for members that the government is committed to retaining the land at Griffith for community facility purposes.

We will not be progressing the previous government's proposal to change land use policy to permit some form of residential or other development on the site. We believe that that proposal was both short-sighted and unreasonable and highlighted the fact that as suburbs change and evolve they still need capacity for community facility land into the future. We have made a clear commitment that that land will be retained for community facility use. As a result proposals by the previous government to progress redevelopment of that site have been permanently shelved.

MS TUCKER: I ask a supplementary question. Given that a major aspect of this proposal was the removal of the O'Connell Centre to free up the school buildings for redevelopment, what are your plans for the O'Connell Centre building?

MR CORBELL: Currently a proposal is being progressed to relocate the O'Connell Centre. Those plans are yet to be finalised. My understanding is that the existing facility is extremely outdated and unsafe in a range of ways. In the view of the department of education, a view I accept, the facility can be operated from a better location, a more modern location, and work is under way to progress that.

That said, there is still a need to ensure that community facility land is retained in Griffith. Regardless of the future of the O'Connell Centre, the land will be retained for community facility use.

Ms Tucker: What about the building?

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