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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 349..


Trees in Nettlefold Street, Belconnen

MR STEFANIAK (5.51): I will speak about trees and specifically the Nettlefold trees. I

was recently contacted by Helen Brewer, who gave me a chronology. It is a little disturbing. I wonder what is happening, specifically in relation to the direction of the Assembly. She set up a timeline of events. She has a list of names here and, because they involve ministerial staff members, I will not say-according to convention-the members' names.

On Wednesday, 27 August last year the Assembly passed a motion requesting the government to negotiate with the owner of block 12 section 2 Belconnen; that is, the Nettlefold Street trees site. On Tuesday, 23 September last year the Assembly censured Planning Minister Simon Corbell for not carrying out the wishes of the Assembly.

Ms Brewer, on 17 November last year, saw Mr Stanhope at the launch of the environmental law handbook at the Assembly. He told members of the Friends of the Nettlefold Trees, including Ms Brewer, that he understood efforts to contact the owner of the block were taking place. However, he understood that the owner had been away for some time. Mr Stanhope said something to the effect that he himself would try to get in contact with the owner: we should get in touch with his office.

Ms Brewer then stated that on 25 November last year she contacted Mr Karedis's office in Neutral Bay in Sydney. She tells me that he is the owner of the block. Mr Karedis's secretary said that Mr Karedis was away and that she was aware that a phone call had been received from someone in the office of the Minister for Planning, but that she did not know any more than that.

On 25 November-I assume later on that day-Ms Brewer contacted Mr Stanhope's office. She was told by a staff member that he had heard nothing about the matter but that he would check and get back to her. She stated then on 17 December last year, after leaving several messages for that person to ring her, he finally said that she and her colleagues would have to get in contact with Mr Corbell's office.

The next day, 18 December, she did just that and was informed that she would have to discuss the matter with the departmental liaison officer there. After a number of attempts to contact him, on 2 February she managed to speak to him in person. The DLO said that he could only vaguely recollect something happening in regard to the block in Belconnen. His first recollection was that contact had been made to inquire as to why no development was occurring. He undertook to speak to another member of staff and get back and inform Ms Brewer what contact had been made.

Ms Brewer contacted me on 6 February-some four days after that last message-and said that, despite one phone call every day since then-that is, over a four-day period-the DLO had yet to contact her. That was the last contact I had with Ms Brewer. So it is possible something else might have occurred between then and now.

But my concern is quite clear; there was a very clear direction from the Assembly. A direction was given in late September in this matter. Quite clearly, there are some real concerns-assuming Ms Brewer is to be believed and is accurate in her statements; I


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