Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3904..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
Despite that motion going through in April 2002, the planning and environment committee and the government had to look at this issue in record time. I thank the government for the speed with which it was able to respond to the committee's report and for the brief but considered answers it gave to the recommendations that the committee put forward.
I need to make clear that we are supportive of the variation to the territory plan that we are debating today and will be opposing the motion put forward about not following through with this variation. However, I do remain concerned about the possible inclusion of an Actew substation on the site and the impact that that would have on the current lease and the impact that that might have in the future on the use of the land that we are talking about today.
I recognise that other studies are taking place in relation to the Actew substation; but, as the committee recognised in its report, there are concerns about the inclusion of an Actew substation in the variation and the impact that that would have on the current lessees in relation to the disposal of the land. Recognising that the disposal of land or the renewal of leases is separate from the planning imperatives contained in the variation to the territory plan, I think it is an important part of this issue and one that the government cannot ignore.
The government has indicated in its response that it will be looking at the rights and obligations of current leaseholders. I hope that it will proceed in good faith and that an Actew substation will not become a reason not to proceed in good faith or not to allow the current leaseholders the access that they are looking for to the current site. I recognise the renewed desire to deal with this issue quickly and I thank members of this Assembly for being able to deal with this motion in a quite speedy manner, considering the amount of time that it has been around. I wish Animals Afloat all the best in the future as this variation to the territory plan becomes law.
MRS CROSS (11.03): Mr Speaker, I echo the sentiments of my Assembly colleagues, Mrs Dunne and Ms Dundas. This matter has been nothing short of a David and Goliath type of situation. Mrs Dunne raised this issue more than two years ago in this Assembly and it is a travesty that it has taken so long for it to be dealt with.
Briefly, I will be supporting Mrs Dunne's request that we vote against her motion. I agree that the Animals Afloat issue must be dealt with first. The lease should be for a period longer than 20 years. Given that my colleagues have already raised in more detail what has been involved in addressing this issue and given that the planning and environment committee was given this matter to deal with only very recently, which seems to be more the norm than the exception, I will read an email that I have the permission of the Animals Afloat people to read to the Assembly this morning.
I have met these people on a number of occasions and I have to say that they represent the grassroots electorate. They represent people in the electorate who come to us with concerns and quite often are outnumbered because of the powerful bureaucracy that is there making decisions that, more often than not, go against the grassroots people, which is not the way things should occur. We are here to represent the community. We are here to represent the community's interests. We are not here to allow the bureaucracy to make