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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2247 ..

The plan to allow the development includes various other changes, including a section of bushland being handed back to the government, to be returned to the Red Hill reserve on the western side of the golf course, the Federal golf club giving up other rights to develop on their site, and the proposed over-55s living facility going ahead, including more plantings and enhanced gardens.

The EPSDD engagement report refers to seven recommendations. It states that recommendations 1 to 6 received majority community support and that recommendation 7, regarding the over-55s development, received what was described on page 4 as “support”. On page 11 it is described as “strong support”.

However, some people who live in the suburb are quite annoyed with this conclusion, and rightly so, because the data used to form this conclusion was, to the best of my knowledge, drawn from the 468 submissions received in support of EPSDD’s preferred option of the current proposal to build on the southern side of the golf club land.

However, local residents are, reasonably, annoyed that 423 of those submissions were from Federal golf club members, meaning that just 45 individual submissions of the 468 in support were from non-golf-club members. Ninety-seven submissions were against the proposal. Therefore, the government should have said that there was majority support from golf club members, not local residents.

On the question of whether the development should go ahead, personally, I am not strongly aligned with either position at this point. However, I do not like the government’s tactics of treating the community as though they are stupid. I have said from the beginning that there is a case all over my electorate for over-55s housing. There are many people living in large houses who would love to downsize within their communities, and there are very few options for that.

In my vast phone canvassing last year, for example, I had this conversation over and over again about people who wanted to live close to shops but do not want to stay in their large houses. So I can understand why, to some, the development seems like a good idea.

I am strongly in favour of the intelligence of the residents of my electorate. I give them a lot of credit for their capacity to think things through and see things from many sides. But misrepresenting their views will not help the community to come to terms with whatever is decided.

The petition, having over 500 signatures, will be sent to the planning committee, and we look forward to people having a say there as well. No doubt there are people in favour of the development who live in Hughes and Garran, many of whom have contacted my office during the period when this petition was being circulated. I thank all members of the electorate who signed the petition and those who contacted my office. I am in favour of difference; we live in a wonderful city, and I look forward to seeing the response from the minister to this petition. At least the people have been able to have their say.

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