Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 239..
DR FOSKEY (continuing):
immediately jumped to that conclusion. But I was not. The Attorney-General should have allowed me to finish my sentences, then he would have realised that I was referring to two other pieces of legal advice. Firstly, there was Austexx's legal advice, which I have just tabled. The other advice was Capital Property Group's legal advice that the initial legislation repealing third party appeals, which was passed last May, was invalidly made because it was a purported exercise of power which was in excess of the enabling regulation making power. The judge found that advice to be correct.
In his closing speech the Attorney-General said that "the amendment did not achieve its intended effect and this amendment seeks only to maintain the previous position". But it was not the previous position. How can the government seriously claim that people should rely on their own legal advice when it has shown a willingness to retrospectively change the law to ensure that the government's view of the law prevails? The Capital Property Group was within its legal right to appeal on the basis of the law as it stood at the time, regardless of what the government intended. That is how the rule of law works.
The Attorney-General went on and on about the injustice of competitors abusing the law to stymie their competitors. Nobody disagreed with him. But it does not justify taking away the community's right to challenge inappropriate developments. It was telling that the minister did not once refer to, or attempt to justify, this impact of his legislation. It remains to be seen whether the EpiCentre sale will be found to be unlawful by the Supreme Court. If it is and if the ACT taxpayers are hit with a massive damages bill, the fault will fall squarely at the feet of the government, which refused to acknowledge that the process was faulty and that we might have got a much better price if the advertising had been honest and if all bidders had been given the same information.
I refrain from entering into speculation as to the extent to which this debacle arose because of personal enmities between certain ministers and certain developers.
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (5.31): Mr Speaker, last week I had great pleasure in being able to congratulate the students and teachers of St Francis Xavier College as the first high school or college in the ACT to be awarded under the Waste Wise program.
The Waste Wise schools program is an integral part of the success of educating our young people in achieving sustainable practices for the future. As part of the NOWaste strategy the Waste Wise schools program takes an integrated approach to school-based waste minimisation that includes implementation of recycling systems, smart purchasing for waste minimisation and the running of Waste Wise events.
The Waste Wise schools program is a component of the sustainable schools initiative, a partnership between the Australian government and all states and territories and the purpose of which is to reduce the environmental footprint of students within their school environment and the wider community. At St Francis Xavier College some 1,100 students, parent groups, staff and the community have worked together to make this achievement possible. Since becoming involved in the program in 2004 St Francis