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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 25 August 2005 2005) . . Page.. 3219 ..

that such people catch buses with great alacrity; I do not see them jumping on their bikes, even though Deakin is a reasonable distance from the city. But are they going to the city?

I feel that the word “sustainability” here is a word after the fact and that it is being used to justify a development rather than the government saying, “We want to make sustainable development our aim here; what kind of development will best suit that?” Anyone who lives near that site will know it is going to be an absolute nightmare with people coming and going, as everyone in Canberra does, between 8 o’clock and 9.30 in the morning. Our roads are quite peaceful after that but at that time of day it can be sheer hell being on the road. That is a spot where it is already extremely difficult.

I think “sustainability” is a bit of a furphy here. Of course I believe in sustainability; and our policies state that we should have medium density development around neighbourhood centres of a certain kind. But we believe that has been interpreted far too broadly in a number of cases and that, in this case, it does not fit at all. If the government is concerned about the viability of the Embassy Motel, assumedly it is concerned about every other business in the ACT that is experiencing difficulty. Anyway, where is the evidence that shows that the Embassy Motel is unviable? There is quite a lot of accommodation on the north side—on Northbourne Avenue—but, as far as I can see, the south side lacks such accommodation. The Embassy Motel has been on the map for a long time. We should think very seriously about whether we should replace it.

I guess we come back to the height issue here. Mr Corbell has stated emphatically—and it is good to hear it in black and white—that he supports a seven-storey development. He certainly indicated that last year, when he spoke before the election. Mr Gentleman has now come along and said that he does not seem to mind either, even though he is the chair of a committee that recommended a height of between three and five storeys.

To conclude, it is disappointing that the work of the planning and environment committee has been dismissed. It was reasonably supportive of the development. We had potential for compromise with a four-storey limit that I think would have led to a much greater degree of trust between the government and the residents. I think the government will need to work very hard to rebuild that trust and show residents that it is committed to sustainable development, and that that sustainability does not just include the environment. That of course will mean—I am quite convinced—that this development will be water and energy efficient in every way. It means social and economic sustainability as well. I have not seen any evidence at all that this development will satisfy those areas.

Question put:

That Dr Foskey’s motion be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 6

Noes 7

Mrs Burke

Mr Smyth

Mr Berry

Ms Porter

Dr Foskey

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Corbell

Mr Quinlan

Mr Pratt

Mr Gentleman

Mr Stanhope

Mr Seselja

Ms MacDonald

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