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If the Government were to have stricter environmental policy requirements for purchasing and tendering, this could help to provide the economies of scale necessary for local businesses trying to break into new markets. The same could be extended to environmental audits in the private sector.
The Chief Minister proposes that the Kingston foreshore should become a world-class arts and cultural precinct. Mr Speaker, no plans or preparations for plans for this site should take place before the current inquiry into the issues related to the Kingston-Acton land swap has been completed. It is impossible to assess the viability of any plans for Kingston before contamination of the land has been fully addressed and the community has been fully and extensively consulted. The Greens will vigorously oppose any further action on Acton and Kingston before the Planning and Environment Committee brings down its report. We will do all in our power to ensure that the committee's work is not pre-empted on any issue. Further to this, we question the Government's commitment to an international competition for the site. Surely it would be in the economic interests of the ACT if the development could be made primarily using local talent and resources.
The Kingston-Acton land swap is not the only planning issue which this Assembly will consider. For example, it is imperative that the Government work with the community to ensure that both the amenity and the environmental integrity of important areas like Lake Ginninderra and the Tuggeranong Homestead are maintained. We are pleased that the Government is showing some support for the arts in the community. However, the arts are more than just tourism and big dollars. There is certainly a place for excellence in the arts, as there is in sport; but there is a real need for cultural facilities to be much more widely accessible, particularly in the outer areas of Canberra.
The Council on the Ageing and other community service groups have repeatedly supported the importance of maintaining public transport services. There are strong environmental and social reasons for ensuring that Canberra has a strong and effective public transport system. These are benefits which cannot be quantified in financial terms but which are very real. This is a basic access and equity issue. With this city's great distances, people in Canberra are more dependent on the car than are residents of other cities. We must plan for the future. As the Chief Minister pointed out, many of us are lucky to have an enviable quality of life. As she would have recognised when she attended the opening of the Smith Family's appeal last week, we are not all so fortunate. Corporatisation may be something that brings benefit to the community in some circumstances. If the corporatisation of ACTION is to get the support of the Greens, we will need a fundamental assurance that those services which do not primarily service the commuters going to and from work - they are the most commercially attractive ones - will continue to be provided for the benefit of the wider community.
Mr Speaker, the Greens oppose the Eastern and Western Parkway proposals to serve the transport needs of Gungahlin. These proposals will have a significant impact on treasured institutions such as the Botanic Gardens. We believe that the need for these roads can be alleviated in large part through the provision of good public transport. The development of an international airport for Canberra makes no sense. Canberra is well served through