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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 1920..


MR MULCAHY (continuing):

protection of existing recreation facilities. Once they are gone, they will be gone forever; it is very hard to replace a building with an oval.

As I said by way of interjection, the Phillip oval is to some extent the pet project of a former Treasurer, Mr Quinlan. It is one such example. The minister referred to the continuing availability of Phillip oval. It is something of an indictment of the current government that the oval has been allowed to fall into its current state of disrepair. It could be useful for grazing; I accept that. The Chief Minister has talked about the limited agricultural opportunities in the ACT. But as a sporting facility, the concept of night games for the AFL being played on Phillip oval is one that I hope never makes the Melbourne media. It would hold us up as something to be mocked; it is a foolish concept given the way in which the government has managed that facility.

Woden does need community assets, including sporting grounds and a swimming pool. As I said earlier, other parts of Canberra are lacking—to my consternation and the consternation of the people I represent. I urge the government to take into account what Mr Seselja said and develop a better master plan for this whole area—taking into account the broader needs of Woden as well as preserving these vital facilities that have given rise to concern by people living in that district.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.29), in reply: I am very appreciative of the opposition's support for this motion. It is hard to imagine that anyone with real concern and some kind of vision for the Woden area would not be concerned about these changes. I also thank the opposition for raising points about where we trade off increasing commercial and residential development with recreational opportunities, because the two things are complementary. Woden will not be a desirable place to live if there are not places where you can go and have a walk from your unit. Sky Plaza can only work while people have places to go outside their units where they can meet other people—not just a mall, not just a plaza. They need green places; they need places where they can exercise their bodies. It is not enough to sit on your stationary bicycle and keep yourself fit that way.

This matter raises some other issues that I will talk about in relation to the planning legislation. This government now has encapsulated all its consultation in the community councils. That is all the government does now. Those community councils get a certain amount of money—not a lot; none of them have paid people and the workload is enormous. I know that David Menzel has been working his guts out, cooperating with the government on the master plan and so on. He would have liked to have retired from that position this year, but the concern is: who will do that work? Who would want to do that work, for a start? Who would want to work for nothing, basically, in their retirement? You just do it because you care; you do it because you care about your community. The government laughs at people who care and tries to exclude them from the process.

Just think about that as you deny all the input and all the good suggestions. Think about whether the Woden community council will be quite this prepared in the future. I expect it will, because it is made up of good caring people, but there will be much less trust that their effort will be worth while.


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