Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3555..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
"We should pass this bill; it is a great bill"? It is actually a crock of a bill. It could be fixed but I am not prepared to do anything to fix it until I know that what I have been told is the truth.
The only way this minister can assure me that what I was told is the truth is to do it again. He should ensure that registered Aboriginal organisations once again are consulted in relation to this bill. I do not believe that that has happened. Heritage officials admitted today that one of the groups that should have been consulted received this bill-all 99 pages of it-for the first time today. That is not consultation. I urge members to agree to my amendment to the motion. We can then debate the bill when the minister has done his job properly.
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): I seek leave to speak again.
MR WOOD: Don and Ruth Bell expressed concern about an email that was read out earlier by Mrs Dunne-an email that was received by a member of my staff. That email stated that Don and Ruth Bell had endorsed the bill. I am aware that a member of my staff might have inappropriately and inaccurately paraphrased what they had to say and that will be corrected. My staff member and I both apologise.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (5.33): I wish to speak to the amendment. This good piece of legislation has been developed over a number of years beyond the term of this government. Work on the bill began during the term of the previous government and essentially this government has worked on it for its entire term in office. Almost everybody in the ACT who has a detailed interest in and a commitment to heritage protection in the ACT and to issues surrounding heritage have endorsed this piece of legislation.
In all that time members of the ACT government's heritage unit have worked on the bill diligently, honestly and objectively and they have genuinely consulted across the board. For the last couple of years I have been receiving representations about this legislation. During that time I have had discussions across the board with almost all stakeholders in relation to this legislation. In the past few months I have received unsolicited letters from people that I hold in high esteem relating to heritage protection in the ACT. They have told me that this is the finest piece of heritage legislation in Australia.
People in this community who have a reputation in heritage and heritage protection issues simply cannot be gainsaid. They have written to me-and I am sure that they have written to other members-to indicate that this is possibly the best piece of heritage legislation in Australia. That is the view of experts in our community in relation to this legislation. The amendment that was moved is gratuitously nasty or vicious as it condemns the minister for his failure to consult the community properly. There has been more consultation in relation to this piece of legislation than there has been in relation to any other piece of legislation. Essentially, the purpose of this amendment is to adjourn debate on this bill. The amendment states that this Assembly: