Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1213 ..
why Mr Stanhope would think that you were going to put a lot of money into capital improvements. I do not know how long the IGA lease is in Ainslie, but I would be confident that it is a lot longer than one year.
The other point I would make is that it does not seem entirely reasonable to me that the shop owners should be the only people who are paying for public infrastructure. I thought that was one of the roles for our rates and of the government. I think that Mr Stanhope’s comments there are not entirely relevant.
Mr Stanhope went on to attack me about the southern cemetery and natural burials. He said that people in Canberra were going to have to endure natural burials. The first thing I would point out is that certainly it is the Greens’ policy that anyone who is buried would first be dead, so “enduring” is probably not the word that I would use for whatever type of burial it is. I trust that all the people buried will first be dead.
In terms of enduring, or otherwise, natural burials, the Greens are not proposing that natural burials should be the only alternative available to the people of the ACT. What the Greens are saying, firstly, is that the existing cremation facility is under-utilised. This appears to be a fact. We have heard different theories as to whether it is 20 per cent, 40 per cent or 50 per cent utilised, but it is not fully utilised at present. From that point of view, there is no reason to build another. There are some reasons why, on that particular site, some of the residents may not want to have a crematorium next to them. I certainly have had representations from people saying exactly that. But the Greens’ view is that people should have a choice, and currently people do not have a choice for natural burial in the ACT. A dear friend recently died and her body went to somewhere near Melbourne because she wanted a natural burial and it was not available in the ACT.
The other reason the Greens support natural burial is that, from an environmental point of view, it would seem to be without a doubt the preferable option. For a long time Canberra has been talked about as the bush capital. Natural burial is one way of making cemeteries part of the bush capital. Your body is buried and then natural vegetation goes on top. For people who have lived in Canberra, who like the bush capital idea, who want to be part of the environment and who want to reduce their environmental footprint in their life—which many Canberrans have done—natural burial is a choice that they should have.
Consultation—sham consultation. I have never said that the consultation on the southern cemetery is sham consultation. I have said that many of the people consulted did not know all the information about natural burials, and I stand by that statement. But I have never regarded it as sham consultation.
In terms of sham consultation, what I was talking about there was not so much the TAMS consultation, which I appreciate the Chief Minister knows much more about, but the ACTPLA consultation, which was held after the TAMS consultation. The ACTPLA consultation about Kingston in the Kingston master plan did not say to the people there, “Green Square—there is no point in talking about this; the decision has already been made.” The consultation was done with people on the basis that all the options for the Kingston square—it is not actually a square: the Kingston space, the centre of Kingston space—were on the table. In fact, we now know that they were not on the table.