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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 458..


Social plan

MS DUNDAS: My question is for the Chief Minister. Can you please tell the Assembly how far the social plan has progressed? Who has been consulted on its content? When will it be released to the public?

MR STANHOPE: The social plan is progressing, albeit perhaps not as rapidly as one in an ideal world would hope. It is being managed and developed by officers of the policy branch in the Chief Minister's Department. A social framework has been developed. At this stage I cannot give details of a formal consultative process or mechanism. It is my intention and the department's intention, however, to consult broadly and inclusively on the development of the social plan.

As you are aware, the government's proposal is to develop a plan for Canberra into the future. The Canberra plan will comprise detailed work being undertaken by the Chief Minister's Department through the Treasury and through PALM. The essential constituent aspects of the Canberra plan will be the development of a spatial plan, a bird's-eye view of Canberra into the future, a plan for how in the next 20 or 25 years we propose that the city and its infrastructure develop.

Members would be aware that my colleague Simon Corbell, through PALM, will shortly be initiating additional work on the spatial plan proposals for the areas of Stromlo Forest adjacent to Weston Creek. This is a very important task that the people of Canberra have a very real interest in, having regard to the recreational value they have found in using Stromlo Forest. Issues raised in the economic white paper about potential urban development there are particularly important.

The constituent parts of the Canberra plan are the social plan, the economic plan or economic white paper, and the spatial plan, bringing together the social, environmental and economic aspects of the future of the ACT. This is a major piece of work. It is the first time ever a government in the ACT has sought to develop a vision for the future of Canberra in all its aspects. It is not something we simply drop on the table.

I saw some remarkable comments from some members of the business community on the economic white paper draft yesterday. I think they were echoed by the Liberal Party. At times one cannot tell the difference between the two. They said what a pity it was that the economic white paper had not been concluded so that budget bids could be made in relation to some aspects of the new vision. It was never intended to be that. This is not a budget consultation document. It is a document about how to take this community forward, as is the social plan. It is a way of looking at things we have never looked at before.

In the social plan, for instance, we are well advanced in consideration of an analysis of some of the constituent communities in the ACT. We are looking to better identify the nature, for instance, of the indigenous community. One of the things we sadly lack in the ACT is a deep understanding of the size, nature, location and other essential aspects that are the demographic of indigenous people in the ACT.


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