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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 15 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 December 2005) . . Page.. 4869 ..

What we are debating here today, and what this bill is about, one the government will be rejecting today, is a way of taking this debate forward. By rejecting this bill, the government is confirming that it does not want to do anything on City Hill. It has confirmed the do-nothing approach that Simon Corbell signalled at the outset of this debate, as I have referred to before.

There has been a real muddle-headed approach to a lot of these issues, most starkly demonstrated by a bit of a side issue but a similar issue. Today in the paper I read the comments by the planning minister on the proposed tunnel under City Hill. The report said:

The government has … accepted the … recommendation to examine the feasibility of a … tunnel … not because … it’s a good idea … but … to put the issue to rest once and for all. The way to do that is to do an analysis to demonstrate that it does not stack up …

You can imagine what a balanced analysis that will be. Are there any other issues that the government thinks are really silly and that it will commit money to, to demonstrate what a silly idea they are. The use of such funds needs to be questioned. It demonstrates a little bit of the haphazard approach of this government on this issue.

As opposed to the government’s plan to shelve the City Hill proposal by sending it to a committee, this bill provides a mechanism for making it happen. In stark contrast to an unaccountable committee telling Canberrans what will happen on City Hill, the Civic Development Authority Bill would provide for a public master plan process to come up with the best plan for the future of City Hill. This would be subject to public and Assembly scrutiny. It would provide the necessary focus and expertise to get the job done and would be sufficiently independent to avoid the vagaries of changes of government over the life of the project.

The rejection of this bill is disappointing although not unexpected. It is the culmination of the minister’s attitude to this process from the start. He has acted on this more like what people would ordinarily categorise the opposition rather than as a planning minister. He has responded to everything else that has been going on. He has responded to Terry Snow; he has responded to the NCA; he has responded to the opposition putting up positive proposals for the future of this project. What they have announced today is an indictment of this government. They will be rejecting this bill. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question put:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 6

Noes 9

Mrs Dunne

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Corbell

Ms Porter

Mr Pratt

Dr Foskey

Mr Quinlan

Mr Seselja

Mr Gentleman

Mr Stanhope

Mr Smyth

Mr Hargreaves

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