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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 970..

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Why was no warning apparently given or discussed, given your statement now that the fires were probably going to be worse than the previous Christmas and that there had been talk of the possibilities-this is what you said-of the fire reaching the urban edge? Warning had been given at Christmas 2001; why did you not discuss warning this time?

MR QUINLAN: Again, it is not for me to answer that; it is not my portfolio. But as part of cabinet, there are a few observations that I am happy to make here. At the time I recall that there was considerable discussion in the media. There were daily reports of the fires, and there were maps in the paper. I think that the town-people in Canberra generally- understood that there were bushfires, that those bushfires were proving difficult to control and that they were headed towards Canberra. I think all that was common knowledge.

If I might make a further observation for my part, had there been mass evacuation on the Saturday evening or if people had been marched out on the Friday, we would not have lost 500 homes. We would have lost thousands.

Gungahlin town centre

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, my question to the Minister for Planning, Mr Corbell. Minister, on 4 March the president of the Gungahlin Community Council wrote to me, and I would like to read part of that letter before asking the question. The letter stated:

The Gungahlin Community Council wishes to express its utmost concern with what we believe are pressures on the Minister for Planning, by the proponents of the Development Applications for Section 13 and 14, Gungahlin (Coles and Woolworths) and ACTPLA, for the use of "Call-in"powers to be used to approve these two developments that fail to meet the spirit and intent of Variation 53 and applicable relevant planning and control guidelines.

Minister, have you met with the delegation from Coles Myer and/or Woolworths recently to discuss the development applications at the Gungahlin town centre? If so, did your conversation with these developers include a request from them for you to use your call-in powers in relation to proposed developments in order to bypass the planning process, or, indeed, have you been advised to do so by your department?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Cross for the question. Mrs Cross, it is not the role of ACTPLA to advise me on whether or not I should exercise the call-in power. Under the act, that is my responsibility and the responsibility of any minister for planning.

Yes, I have met with representatives of Coles and I have received written representation from representatives of Woolworths in relation to their proposed developments at Gungahlin. I do not intend to go into the detail of those discussions that I have had with them-it was a private meeting-but I can indicate to the Assembly that they have indicated that they would like me to consider the exercise of the call-in in relation to those two developments, and that that is something on which I have sought further advice from the planning authority in relation to not the appropriateness of exercising the call in but in terms of the planning issues they are raising and the planning issues that the developments themselves raise. That is the status of those applications at the moment.

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