Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 266..
MR SESELJA (continuing):
I would like to wish George well. I am sure we will have further opportunities during this season to farewell George Smith from Canberra. But, on behalf of the Canberra Liberals, I would like to pay tribute to what has been a fantastic career with the Wallabies and a fantastic career with the Brumbies. We wish him all the best in his retirement in whatever future plans he has.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (9:29): In late December we received news that the proposed direct sale of section 73 block 17 at Nicholls to the Canberra Muslim community for the construction of a mosque and community centre would not go ahead. We learnt that the Canberra Muslim community would instead be seeking another block of land.
I welcome this news, as do many residents of Nicholls. The proposed development was met with concern by residents of Nicholls due to the ongoing traffic and parking issues in and around the shops. This decision by the Canberra Muslim community president, Mr Yusuf, takes into account the shortage of parking and the excessive traffic on Kelleway Avenue, relatively poor access to public transport and the small size of the block.
It was quite amazing that this site was even suggested by the Stanhope government in the first place given the well-documented parking and traffic problems at Nicholls that had been spoken about at length in the Assembly last year. It was another example of the way this government treats the community with contempt. The first the community learnt about this proposal was a small advertisement at the back of the Chronicle. It was an invitation at short notice to a consultation session that was being held mid-afternoon a suburb away in Palmerston. In other words, the government hoped that no-one would notice. It should not matter what the structure is or who is the proponent; it is the government's responsibility to keep stakeholders informed.
A later information session held at the Gold Creek school was extremely well attended, and the concerns that I have already mentioned above were conveyed. But how did the community find out about this meeting? Through my letterboxing. I met people at the meeting who only knew about the meeting because of what they had received from me. The government, as with the Nicholls shops, failed to provide adequate notice to the community.
What did Mary Porter do throughout this debacle? What did the self-proclaimed "your voice in the ACT government"do to ensure the community's concerns reached those in government? Nothing. She was conspicuously silent in this whole affair. There was no voice to be heard. It seems that Ms Porter is more interested in keeping up appearances than taking up the concerns of the community. Meredith Hunter, the supposed third-party insurance, was also nowhere to be seen in this debate. It was left to the Liberal members for Ginninderra—Vicki Dunne and myself. It has to be said that Ms Hunter is rarely seen in Belconnen, Nicholls or Hall.
I am very glad in this case that the views of the community were aired and acted upon. I and the community understand the need for a Canberra Muslim community to