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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 84..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

locking the gate when the horse had well and truly bolted, and what the minister did today was really securing the gate. The minister put out a press release before lunchtime today saying that the government was saving the Whitley houses.

The principal concern of the committee was that our time was being wasted. We sat down to consider whether or not the work of Cuthbert Whitley, which had been on the interim register for some time, was of sufficient merit to be placed on the heritage places register. Information fell into our lap-not through the normal channels. Someone came to see me to talk about something else and said, "By the way, I'd like to talk to you about what they're doing to the Cuthbert Whitley houses in Kingston."

So I went to have a look. Not only had there been approval for construction; they were also most of the way through it. The construction, which is probably now complete, totally overshadows and physically attaches itself to the existing house. We talk, in relation to the heritage register, about preserving the house, its setting and its curtilage. Before the Planning and Environment Committee could recommend one way or the other, the curtilage was entirely occupied by a three-storey block of flats.

The committee ended up deciding that it did not really matter whether we thought the architecture was worth preserving, because the heritage organisations had already approved development on and had a severe impact on these blocks of land, which were supposedly up for heritage preservation. We also understand that the three other Whitley houses on the list have similar-scale developments approved for them. So, although we have gone along and said that the Whitley houses are probably worth keeping, it has been a waste of time because development applications have already been approved that severely take away from the quality of the architecture, be it good or bad.

In many ways, it was a waste of the time of the committee, it was a waste of the time of the officials who dealt with it and it was certainly a waste of the time of the proponents and developers, who had to go through a rather cumbersome process. All of that is addressed in the committee's report. For the minister to come out today, prior to this report being tabled, and say, "We have saved the Whitely houses"reeks somewhat of hypocrisy.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Planning and Environment-Standing Committee


MRS DUNNE (5.17): I seek leave to move a motion to alter the membership of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment.

Leave granted.

MRS DUNNE: I move:

That Mrs Dunne be discharged from attending the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment for that Committee's consideration of the inquiry into the building of an Aldi supermarket next to the Belconnen Markets.

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