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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (13 May) . . Page.. 1855..


Projects of Territorial Significance Bill 2004

Mrs Dunne, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MRS DUNNE (6.14): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I have great pleasure in presenting to the Assembly the Projects of Territorial Significance Bill 2004. Only yesterday, in a budget vox pop comment, a lady said that she hoped to see in the budget more nation building projects, more dams, more roads, et cetera. Nation building or territory building projects are important for who we are and what we are. They create employment and wealth and build our community. From time to time we build projects that are for the benefit of the whole community, without which we would be the poorer. I can think of significant projects in the past like the National Library, the building of Scrivener Dam to create Lake Burley Griffin and even more contentious projects like Black Mountain Tower. Large projects are often contentious.

The Canberra Liberals have been thinking about this issue for a long time now. We looked around and saw important projects being held up for a variety of reasons-projects like the Lithgow silicon smelter or the Welcome Reef Dam-and we started to apply our mind to what we could do to ensure that, when something was very important to the territory, it would proceed not in a sort of authoritarian way but in an open and transparent way. While we were talking about this notion and agreeing that the championing of the concept of projects of territorial significance should be part of our election platform, along came the disruption of the Gungahlin Drive extension. I spoke earlier today about the trouble that we have seen over the final building of Gungahlin Drive.

We have a practical application of our notion of projects of territory significance. We saw the Stanhope government getting deeper and deeper into the mire, tied down in legal guerrilla warfare with a handful of activists who have a valid point of view but who do not represent or recognise the needs of the majority. I suppose it is fair to say that the first instinct of the Liberal opposition was to sit back and gloat-the government was building our road on our route and taking the flak for it. It became apparent to us that the Stanhope government in its usual risk-averse way was reluctant to do anything to cut through this legal and confrontational mire. The Canberra Liberals commissioned this bill to meet two needs: to introduce the idea of projects of territorial significance and to create the Gungahlin Drive extension as the first project of territorial significance.

This bill creates the concept of a project of territorial significance. It allows a chief minister to declare a project to be a project of territorial significance and thus streamline the approval procedures. The bill will allow the Chief Minister to declare by regulation that a project is of territorial significance and ensure that such a project, while subject to the normal approval process, would not be subject to any third party appeal for any aspect of the work. The declaration being a regulation would be subject to disallowance


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