Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2328..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
We have made a commitment to seek to establish a dragway within Majura Valley, and I hold firm to that commitment. However, it behoves us to follow a range of appropriate processes-most particularly that the Environment Protection Authority assume some of the issues around the impact on the environment and amenity. It assumes those issues through the preparation of a draft motor sport noise environment protection policy and its application to that site. The public consultative process has already received 200 submissions, which are currently being assessed by the Environment Protection Authority. When that assessment process has been completed the environment protection policy can be submitted to the Minister for Education and Training with a view to him, on the basis of that process, coming to a conclusion and making appropriate recommendations to cabinet.
In the context of the comment the chief executive made, I think we are all aware, as we raised this in earlier discussions, that there are a number of issues about amenity. Perhaps there are three issues that might be categorised. One is the impact on the environment of the area in the context of the natural environment, the implications for flora and fauna. Second is the implications for residents in Majura Valley. As members will be aware, a number of houses are located quite close to-indeed, one house located essentially on-the site of the proposed dragway, and a number of other houses or residences established within a very close radius. The third consideration is the impact on the broader community. I think we are all aware that the residents of some of the suburbs of north Canberra are concerned. The purpose of the work being undertaken by the Environment Protection Authority is to deal with the whole range of issues I have broadly categorised-implications for the natural environment, implications for the residents of the valley and implications for other residents.
No decisions have been made but I can understand, if one goes to the site and sees how close one of the residences is to the proposed site, life might not be particularly pleasant at all. For anybody living in that house, which is located, as I understand it, within 100 to 200 metres of the end of the proposed dragway, that is a major consideration. Perhaps the most significant difficult issue for the government in coming to a final conclusion will be the implications for the residents who live within such a close radius. We perhaps would have preferred if the chief executive had expressed himself a little more elegantly, but there is a resident who lives within 100 metres, and I do not think many of us would want to live there.
MR STEFANIAK: I ask the Chief Minister a supplementary question. Why has the chief executive made these comments, which contradict your election commitment to build a dragway, and is it further evidence that you intend to cancel the dragway?
MR STANHOPE: Not at all. I state quite categorically the comments the chief executive made in relation to the dragway, so far as I am aware, were made without any discussion or consultation with his minister. Certainly I was unaware of them, and I would be surprised if the minister was aware of them. I have some indication that the minister was not aware of them. The comments were made in the context of "Would you like to live on the site?"As I say, to the extent that it raises some concern in Mr Stefaniak's mind, I would prefer it had not done that. To the extent that it raises concerns in the minds of anybody else with a significant interest in the dragway, let me put those