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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 8 Hansard (6 August) . . Page.. 2937..


MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

years of schooling, in kindergarten and years 1 to 2, as we are doing, has strong benefits, this is not the case throughout all the years of school and requires a broader policy intervention to ensure that ACT students continue to perform highly from preschool to year 12 and beyond. (Time expired.)

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.33 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Gas-fired power station

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, I refer to the announcement today of the full EIS regarding the data centre and power station in Tuggeranong. Given your and your party's refusal to support an EIS previously, isn't today's announcement another acknowledgement that this process has been mishandled to date?

MR STANHOPE: Absolutely and utterly not. What the government has said from the outset is that every proponent in relation to every project has a right to expect that the statutory processes will run without interference, most particularly from politicians.

What we see are the respective positions of the Labor Party and the Liberal Party in relation to this. There is a determination by the Labor Party, the government, to support the possibility or potential for economic growth and economic expansion. There is a determination by the government to ensure that our statutory planning processes are free of political interference.

What we see today is an announcement by the minister based on a recommendation by the independent statutory planning authority that a preliminary assessment undertaken by ACTPLA—at arm's length from government, without political interference—has raised a number of questions which the proponents of this major, important project need to answer before further or detailed consideration can be given to approving a development application.

We see today a rigorous, independent statutory process at work—a process that the Liberal Party in government would suborn; a process that the Liberal Party in government would intervene in; a process that the Liberal Party in government would not have allowed to run—and a result, a resolution, consistent with the statutory planning process that the Liberal Party does not support.

Today we see a stark difference between the attitude of the Liberal Party and the Labor Party to probity, to integrity in planning, to integrity in decision making and to the importance of an independent, arm's-length statutory planning process. Today we see the integrity of the ACT's planning process working in precisely the way that it was always intended to work, and consistent with everything which I and my ministers have said in relation to this project.


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