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As far as the noise issue is concerned, it is a problem that has been managed in the Territory by successive governments. More lately, it has been dealt with by way of exemptions under the relevant legislation. Attempts have been made to find other circuits for this sport, and that has been a difficult course. It has involved consultants looking at various sites and the impact of motor racing on those sites on nearby residents. I am sure that it would be possible to engineer this by finding a site and being prepared to buy out nearby residents, clearing the area so that there were no residents to be affected by the noise. The problem is: Who pays? I do not think motor sport in the ACT has the money to pay, and I do not think the taxpayer would be too happy about spending a whole heap of taxpayers’ revenue in difficult times to provide that sort of resource. It eventually comes down, to some degree, to the spending of taxpayers’ revenue for the provision of a site for motor sport.
I do not think it is proper to offer further encouragement for noisy practices by issuing more exemptions. I do not think that is the answer. It does not provide an incentive to anybody to secure change for the future, and change we must. There is no chance of our continuing down this path of having unsatisfactory sites. They are not unsatisfactory only in terms of the noise that impacts on New South Wales residents and on ACT residents. If one has a bit of a walk around the sites, they are generally pretty messy and could impact, and perhaps have impacted, on the environment through run-off and all those sorts of things.
From Labor's point of view, we have to ensure that we are headed for change, not encouraging no change. I had people beating a path to my door and saying, “We want more exemptions for the Sutton Park facility to race motorbikes”, and so on. I have run a motorbike around there, and a fire truck and a few other things, and it is certainly not a place that I think is suited to racing at this point; but with some work it might be. But what is the point of all of that expenditure if you are going to end up with more exemptions, more noise impacting on nearby residents? The claim has been made that they are only New South Wales residents. It was properly said a moment ago that we would complain about the impact of New South Wales activities on us. New South Wales residents have a perfect entitlement to complain about the impact on them of noise or any other environmental matter.
From my point of view, this is an issue of principle, and we have to manage arrangements in a way that sees change secured. Attempts were made. We did not find the exact solution, and more attempts have to be made. However, I do not think the answer is providing more exemptions, because that will just discourage people from moving towards change. The next step will be requests for more and more exemptions. Mr Moore has suggested that, if he is not able to have his way on this matter, the relevant part of the legislation that provides for exemptions will be removed. That is a pretty blunt instrument, but I suppose that that is a way of needling people towards change, too. If change does not occur or if there is not light at the end of the tunnel, then the blunt instrument will have to be dragged out of the holster. But, with luck, we will not have to proceed down that path.