Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (25 May) . . Page.. 2162..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
I commend the amendment to the Assembly.
MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (12.05): Mr Speaker, the government will not be supporting this amendment. It's not in keeping with the thrust of this bill which is designed to get the obstacles removed and the road under way. It's designed to delay further, to come back to this Assembly, and, in the circumstances we face today with this legislation, it's not appropriate.
MRS DUNNE (12.05): The Liberal opposition will not be supporting this amendment, basically for the same reasons outlined by the minister. This goes against the spirit of the bill. This bill is about building the road, and what Ms Tucker proposes to do is hold up the building of the road. As I've said before, the opposition has concerns about the nature of the approvals in this legislation, and I will address those in the debate on clause 9 in a little while. As my colleagues have said, at any time that a minister makes a false step on this process, the Assembly has the capacity to recall and deal with the issue.
We need to be very clear that the approvals given here need to be about the road. We've had an undertaking from this minister that there will be no nefarious approvals. There are concerns in the community that we may actually use Gungahlin Drive as an excuse for getting other things approved. The opposition and, I hope, the crossbenchers will be vigilant to ensure that this minister and his successors-because, no matter what happens, come October there will be a new Minister for Urban Services responsible for building the road-stick to the spirit of the commitments made today by this minister that the approvals given will be absolutely and totally associated with the building of this road and nothing more.
MS DUNDAS (12.08): There are some major concerns with "notifiable"and "disallowable"within the bill before us, and a number of members have circulated amendments to deal with these issues. Even with these amendments being supported by this Assembly-any of the amendments-it doesn't actually go to making this bill a better piece of law and we wouldn't be able to support the legislation even if it is amended.
I think there are some problems with what these amendments before us do actually do. I think it is a good intention to make the decisions disallowable, but they do not actually address the removal of the power of the courts. This bill displaces the responsibility, to a certain extent, onto the Assembly and it doesn't disguise the fact that the proper judges of agility of the law in the ACT should be the courts, not the government and not the Assembly in a sense.
The Assembly does not have expertise or the information that would be presented to a court to determine whether due processes occur or to correct legal interpretation of the statutes. I will present an example. When we are confronted with an instrument under this act, we will have to then make a judgment about whether that decision was proper. We could be in a situation where the Assembly is asked to approve a particular alteration to the plans for the Gungahlin Drive. We will not necessarily have any extensive information on the alternation.