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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 3177..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

change the law after it had lost its case in the courts. A few minutes earlier Ms Dundas said that we should wait until the court makes its decision. So Mr Wood cannot win either way. Opposition members said that they would support the legislation but in the meantime they will give the minister a bit of a shellacking.

I am concerned about this legislation because we are about to have a five-week interregnum, we will sit for three weeks and essentially we will then be in a caretaker period. The people who are running legal guerrilla warfare on this project will take advantage of that, which is why this government has to get its house in order and why it has to get it right now. Today we are sorting out the Gungahlin Drive issue but it is a quick short-term fix. I place on the record the fact that we must revisit the Belconnen Way and Caswell Drive issue. Bindubi Street is the next likely culprit. If the government ever tries to do anything in Bindubi Street we will use as a justification the fact that it is in the nature reserve.

The first job of the Sixth Assembly should be to undertake a review of the territory plan and to excise these bits of road from the nature reserve. We must comprehensively go through the territory plan and ensure that when Roads ACT builds a road that we have told it to build it is not faced with this sort of embuggerance. This legislation, which was never a good piece of legislation, has been made worse today. It was introduced because it was politically expedient to do so; and I make no apologies for that. The Assembly has said, "We hear the will of the people in Gungahlin and we are responding to that."

This is not the best way to do it. Tim Bonyhady is wrong about the territory's approach to projects of significance. One has to sort out all the arguments first and only then can one approve a project. What we are doing today is asking, "What will come up next and how will we stop it?" Mr Wood will start looking like the boy with his finger in the dyke. As I am sure that a whole lot of other issues will arise, I fear Mr Wood might run out of fingers and toes. We need to address these issues now. Planners and people in Roads ACT need to take a deep breath and look at these approvals with a fresh eye, not as someone who reads these things every day and who sees what he or she wants to see.

If planners cannot take a fresh look at these approvals they must find somebody who can. We must establish when these issues are likely to arise and we must deal with them before the government is again taken to court. In the past this government has not done anything about requiring guarantees for costs. Save the Ridge activists go to court and state, "We will cover costs", but we know that that is no guarantee. This group of activists should be prepared to put their houses on the line as a guarantee. Save the Ridge activists do not have the assets to meet those sorts of costs. Before we proceed any further this minister must require guarantees for costs. We almost certainly will end up in court again and we should not let Save the Ridge activists get away with it.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Arts and Heritage, and Acting Minister for Health) (5.13): I thank Mrs Dunne for her support for the bill, but I am not too sure about her speech. Let me own up, as I have before, with respect to heritage legislation. I understand that the legislation was introduced in 1993. Can members guess who was minister at that time?

Mrs Dunne: I did not want to attribute blame. I thought it might have been one of ours.


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