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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 2004..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

That the report be authorised for publication.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

MS DUNDAS: I move:

That the report be noted.

On 11 February this year the Assembly debated the proposed redevelopment of the Karralika therapeutic centre in Fadden. The outcome of that debate was that the planning and environment committee inquired into the redevelopment and the call-in powers of the Minister for Planning. The report I have presented today is the result of that inquiry.

The committee would like to emphasise to the Assembly and the community that the focus of this inquiry was on the planning issues in relation to the Karralika development and the consultation process, not the underpinning health questions, which were outside the committee's terms of reference. I stress that because there was an opportunity to blur these issues by saying that we do need these health facilities and we should make the planning processes fit, but the committee could not do that. We tried to focus solely on the planning processes and the community consultations around that.

I know that members of this Assembly are well aware of the issues that led to the establishment of this inquiry, but I would like to draw the attention of members to the history of this development, which the members of the committee found quite interesting. We believe that there were many opportunities between 2001, when this idea was first presented to the then Minister for Health, Michael Moore, and the proposal being supported in the 2003-04 budget and work actually beginning, for the proposal to be discussed with the community and for any problems identified to be addressed and resolved.

The committee believes that the process of community consultation should have commenced at the embryonic point of the redevelopment proposal in 2001. That would have avoided the spending of large amounts of government money on undertaking and completing the feasibility study, reaching the final sketch plan phase and lodging the development application.

Officers of the department of health indicated in evidence to the committee that it never crossed their minds at any time in the process of putting together the plans for the redevelopment that the residents around might be discomforted by it. It was a facility that had been there for some time and the internal consultation team was confident that it was a facility that would continue to be there. The department of health stated that it was not aware of any major issues between Karralika and the community. That may have been so, but the ensuing debate and the establishment of a community action group have shown that that simply was not the case and that more care should have been taken of the feelings of the community.

I draw the attention of members to recommendation 8. The committee recommended that the government and all of its agencies explore ways to involve the wider community during the contemplative stage of capital works projects before any work is undertaken


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