Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 2008..
MRS CROSS (continuing):
The Fadden and Macarthur residents were the ones most directly affected by this redevelopment and have been the ones that have been most let down. I need to remind members that I tabled, I think, two petitions in this place with more than 1,300 signatures that were gathered in less than 10 days. This action group took less than two weeks to get those signatures and they were not just of people that were from that area; they were from a cross-section of electorates in this territory.
They were protesting against what they felt was an arrogant, contemptuous approach by the planning regime regarding consultation or lack thereof. They were not protesting against the facility, which was used as a red herring quite often in this inquiry. We had lots of comments, not only by the minister but also by others, about being committed to drug rehabilitation and looking after those that are less advantaged in the community. That was never an issue for the residents of Macarthur and Fadden. That was used as a red herring. It was an unfair statement to make and I need to reinforce in this place that that was never the issue. It was about the flawed consultative process.
I commend the report to the Assembly. The committee worked very hard to come up with this report before the deadline set, given that it had a number of other reports it was working on concurrently, and I thank members for doing so.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (6.17): Mr Speaker, the government will note very carefully the recommendations of this report. I do want to correct one thing, aside from the cheap shot that Mrs Dunne took in her allegation about advanced warning, which was just a continuation of the sniping we hear from the opposition on that matter.
A number of members made the point that the chief executive officer of ACT Health had not read regulation 12 under the land act. It is worth noting that the third paragraph above that quote at page 20 of the committee's report reads:
The Committee notes that it was ACTPLA in its brief to the Minister for Planning on 26 December 2003 who recommended to the minister that "it is appropriate for the application to extend the Karralika residential drug and alcohol facility to be exempted from public notification..."
It was not the role of ACT Health to recommend that it be exempted, and the committee notes that; it was the role of ACTPLA to make such a recommendation on the application of the act. Health made the request, but ACTPLA made the recommendation to me. I think, with all due respect, that Dr Sherbon has been seriously maligned, which is unfortunate.
Aside from anything else, Mr Speaker, anyone who has held a position of some responsibility would appreciate that you rely on the advice that people working for you provide. You cannot, in any physical or human way, be across every level of detail. Even if it were ACT Health's role to recommend it-the committee acknowledges on the same page that it was not-it would be, I think, quite unreasonable to say that the chief executive should have read that particular regulation. It is entirely reasonable for the chief executive of the department to rely on the advice of his officers in making an assessment as to whether it is an appropriate course of action.