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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 May 1995) . . Page.. 554 ..


involved in the planning of their local areas, commenced work on 13 February 1995 - five days before the ACT election. I must say that he acted like greased lightning, did he not? “Greased Lightning” Wood got onto this problem really fast!

So, on that timetable, at the same pace, we have until about 1997 to respond. We will, however, be responding much faster than that. Next month, in the Assembly, I will make a statement on the general direction of planning in the Territory. Local area planning is an integral part of this Government's policy. We are presently pursuing a way of making that happen, and that will be delivered, I assure you. I ask members to await that process and to contribute to the debate which will flow from that statement.

MS TUCKER: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Mr Humphries, could you, at this point, give an indication of the level and nature of the resourcing that you will give to local area planning?

MR HUMPHRIES: To be perfectly frank, no, I could not. That really depends on the model that we choose to do this. There is, obviously, a range of ways in which we can proceed. I might suggest that the weakness with the previous Government's approach was that it was a very slow process of suburb by suburb planning. Naturally, in that process, it takes a very long time before some of the 70 or 80 suburbs in Canberra are reached. The question arises as to whether things are on hold in those suburbs until such time as the local area plan is developed or whether we should not have some model for proceeding with all of Canberra within some kind of local area planning model appropriate for particular parts of the Territory. The question of which path we go down is an expensive issue. Very many resources are entailed in this question, and we have to work out how we will fund them. I think that to do it properly will require funding of a significant kind. How we do that and in what timeframe will, of course, be a matter that we will have to bring back to the Assembly in that planning statement next month.

Contaminated Sites - Theodore

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, I direct a question also to Mr Humphries. I ask the Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning whether he saw a story, carried by Prime News last night, about a Ms Johanna Jones of Theodore, who believes that she is suffering severe health effects from arsenic. I am concerned about this matter and I ask the Minister whether there are any issues which Ms Jones raised which were not balanced in Prime's news story last evening.

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Hird for that important question about this issue. Members may have seen the broadcast last night on Prime Television. It concerned me for a number of reasons, and I will explain them now. I have to say at the outset that I express my sympathy to Ms Jones and her family for the problem that they have gone through. No-one wants to minimise that problem at all. I will say, however, that I am very disappointed with the approach taken last night by Prime Television in sensationalising and possibly generating some hysteria about these issues. I think that we have to be very careful in relation to what we say about things like arsenic through


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