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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 August 2011) . . Page.. 3670 ..


Of course, those are not just my words; those are the words of the chief planner in relation to this issue. I think that there are a number of outstanding issues in relation to how this process has been handled and what confidence the community can have in the future that the planning process will not be completely compromised. It is a statutory planning process that the people of the ACT should be able to have confidence in, that is legislated so that we can have confidence in it, yet this government treats it as its own personal plaything. And, unfortunately, that has been the story in relation to Giralang.

The chief planner said that it was so compromised that the government should consider calling this process in. He said that there was interference, consistent interference, at a number of levels. He said that there were attempts to influence the decision coming from the Chief Minister himself. Neil Savery also said—and this has never been disputed by anyone; it has never been disputed by legal advice or otherwise—that there had been ongoing interference from departments over a period of years. Not just one letter but ongoing, inappropriate interference in this process over a period of years.

The documents we have show Neil Savery as long ago as March of 2008 saying that the process was being compromised. As long ago as March of 2008 Neil Savery was saying that he wanted to use correspondence from the proponent on their dealings with a number of ministers while a development application was on foot to demonstrate his concerns about interference in this process.

So let us not be mistaken: this was not one inappropriate letter which was a completely inappropriate letter; this was Neil Savery, the chief planner, saying publicly, time after time, that he was concerned that there was, over a period of years, interference in the statutory planning process.

Neil Savery, in relation to Giralang, effectively said that this government was putting the politics right back into planning. He used those words back at this government. He said, “Well, you can’t actually stand up and say that you’re taking the politics out of planning because of the way you’re actually doing things.” It shows the character of this government, doesn’t it? They say one thing in this place—taking the politics out of planning—and they interfere with and compromise processes. For what end? That is the question we have to ask ourselves, and there are a number of outstanding questions. This will not finish here with this call-in. There are a number of questions. What was the motivation for the government? Why were they so desperate to stop the people of Giralang from having their supermarket? Why was the government so hostile to one supermarket development in Giralang? What was driving that motivation?

These are legitimate questions which we will be asking, which the community of Giralang will be asking and which anyone who has an interest in the integrity of our planning system would be asking. Why did the government put itself at risk, as Neil Savery said, and why was it so desperate to put in place a system that would stop this particular development from going ahead? What was it? What was it about the surrounding areas, what was it about other players involved, that said this government


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