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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 2091..

Projects of Territorial Significance Bill 2004

[Cognate bill:

Gungahlin Drive Extension Authorisation Bill 2004]

Debate resumed from 13 May 2004, on motion by Mrs Dunne:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (12.50 am): Mr Speaker, I think that a lot of the debate has been had, perhaps not with us standing up at our desks, but certainly in lots of discussion. A great deal of contact has been made. There is near unanimous agreement-not unanimous, perhaps-from members of this Assembly that we would wish to see a bill passed through here that expedites work on the Gungahlin Drive extension.

There would be near unanimous agreement-I could be bold and suggest the numbers, but I will not-that the result of this debate tonight should see work commence shortly and that that be done with due regard to democratic principles, understanding that of necessity for a bill of this nature some traditional privileges will be suspended, but not totally. Citizens should retain the right as far as possible, though I hope that a bill will be passed tonight.

The government's bill is designed to be specific to the GDE, only the GDE, and we regard that as being very important. The government's bill retains the inherent jurisdiction of the ACT Supreme Court. The government's bill provides that there will be sufficient powers to allow the road to move ahead after all this time of study and debate. This bill is not as far-reaching-I emphasise that it is not as far-reaching-as similar bills or bills aimed to do the same thing in other jurisdictions. It is not as far-reaching as bills were in Mr Kennett's Victoria. We have adopted a fairly modest approach, as modest as we can in the circumstances.

The government did look at more extreme options, but did not go down that path. The Liberals' bill provides, and it is a sticking point for the government, for broader use. I think the words used when we had a debate earlier today with the Liberals were "wide"and "shallow". We believe that the Liberals' bill falls down in key areas, because it is open to parties to initiate court action that would be lengthy, detailed and difficult to deal with with any expedition.

The Liberals' bill would still see extensive court action available. Labor's bill, I repeat, retains the inherent jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the rights of citizens. But it is a decision for us to make. We can talk about the technicalities, but I do not know that this bill will be decided on the technicalities. We want the road to go ahead. It has been a long time in the making and it has not yet been made, so let's move ahead with it. I believe that, of these two bills, much the better way to proceed is with the government's bill, and that is the way I would urge members who want the road to move ahead to vote.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, the opposition agrees that the debate on the merits of the GDE has been quite extensive.

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