Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 1047..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
straightforward motion to refer to the Planning and Environment Committee the troubles that relate to an application to build a range of environmentally sensitive housing which centre around aged care facilities on the disused golf course holes at the Belconnen Golf Course to see if the Planning and Environment Committee can cut through the mire of conflicting evidence and conflicting views, so that the Assembly might come to a conclusion as to whether or not this proposal merits support.
There is a view amongst members that it probably is a proposal which merits support, but a range of issues has been raised by the planning minister from time to time and I and members here are wondering whether these issues have merit and whether we can address the issues so that we can get on with the proposal to provide aged care facilities because there is such a crying need. The crying need has been highlighted in this place. It was also highlighted on the Stateline program of two or three weeks ago where this proposal was brought into focus and some of the conflicting views about what was happening with this proposal were brought into sharp focus. A lot of issues about this go to the heart of how the Labor Party formulates policy. It is unfortunate that there has been a lot of conflict and conflicting things said about this proposal. To set it in context, last year at the ALP conference an employment and industrial relations resolution was passed of which clause 5 said:
In recognising that the ACT clubs are a major landowner in the territory, the government will commit to fast-tracking changes to the ACT territory plan in order to assist the clubs in ensuring job security for all staff and suppliers and to ensure the minimal cost impact on the sporting community and other charitable beneficiaries of the ACT clubs.
This came about for a variety of reasons including changes to smoking laws and the impact that that might have on clubs. At clause 6 it states that the government would seek the support of the Assembly for socially responsible packages. There is a view in the community, which needs to be tested by the Planning and Environment Committee, that the proposal put forward by Madison Lifestyle Communities may fall into the category of a socially responsible package. There is a great deal of angst in the community about the lack of aged care accommodation available and the snail's pace with which this is being addressed by the current government and the current minister. This reference will take a proposal that has been on the drawing board since July 2002 and try to find a way to address the issues if they have merit, and in a way that if the community decides that this is something that should be done, we may actually get to see a sod turned in the reasonably near future.
This proposal is not for the Planning and Environment Committee to somehow subvert the land of the provisions of the Land Act. It is just to find where the blockages are in the Land Act, or if they are outside of the Land Act. I contend, on the basis of evidence provided to me, that the blockages are not necessarily all in the Land Act. Last week Mrs Cross asked questions in this place about the approaches made by Madison Lifestyle Communities to the minister, and the minister answered the questions in a particular way-that this proposal had first come to his attention in the early stages of last year. The proponent has put to me that that happened not in the early stages of last year, but midway through the previous year, when it went to PALM, and in November 2002, when the matter was taken to the minister. More importantly, the minister said in response to Mrs Cross that at the outset he had made it clear to the proponent that he, the minister,