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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 4 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 1288..


MR BARR (continuing):

Shaddock review. I would warmly welcome the commencement of the Assembly committee review, and I have argued, and I have said before, that it should have started earlier. It should not have been put down the list. The inquiry that the Assembly committee is currently conducting is of much less importance to the future of education in the territory.

Planning—Deakin swimming pool

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, in 2005 the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, a bipartisan committee with two government members, made a recommendation that, prior to development of the Deakin site, a performance bond was to be entered into to ensure the upgrade of the swimming pool. Minister, why did the government ignore the committee's recommendation?

MR BARR: I would note, firstly, that I was not even a member of this place at that time, but I am relying on the government response to that committee at that time. I only have one copy with me, but I am happy to table that at the conclusion of my speech. I would, of course, refer members to Hansard, where the response can be found.

It is clear that within the current environment of the leasehold system in the territory for privately leased land, the government would not be in a position under the current legislative arrangement—or that which operated at the time anyway and which still operates—to undertake an activity in line with what the committee recommended and that there just was no mechanism in which to achieve that outcome. It simply comes back to a fundamental point: the government should not and cannot intervene in this particular matter.

The issue for the government in the longer term is, of course, to seek compliance with the territory plan and the lease. I would like to make it very clear, as I have publicly in the media, that the government intends, should there be a breach of the lease conditions, to fully and vigorously pursue this and to take every legal avenue available to it. That is a clear commitment from government.

I know the shadow minister and you, Mr Speaker, have been briefed on these matters, but there are two priorities for the government in this matter. The first is to assist users of the facility, if it does close, to find alternative locations to undertake their learn-to-swim activities. I am very pleased that we have been able to secure additional space at two government-owned pools in Civic and Tuggeranong to ensure that users are inconvenienced as little as possible during what we anticipate will be a closure of the pool.

That said, if and when the pool closes, the government will then able to pursue fully the compliance actions under the territory plan and under the conditions of the lease of the pool operator. Let me repeat: the government will pursue that vigorously. But there is a legal process and a complex set of legal issues that must be gone through.

Let me make one thing fundamentally clear: it would be appalling public policy for an owner of a private facility to be able to let that facility run down and then expect the


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