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ACT’s ability to attend these ministerial conferences, such as the Premiers Conference, Loan Council and so on. Mr Humphries would concur that these conferences are of major importance to the ACT. While Mrs Carnell insists on talking - and I think it is only talking - about local government or municipal government, if she were to take that further and actually do something about it, the ACT’s ability to attend such meetings may quickly vanish. That would be quite undesirable.
Mr Humphries concluded by saying that he found the meeting very useful. I am sure that he did. I am sure that he was intrigued by the debate that he indicated had occurred on planning in relation to contaminated sites. He probably caught up with the fact that his Chief Minister never knew, or seemed not to know, that the States had been trying for quite some time to convince the Commonwealth to accept its responsibility in respect of clearing contaminated sites on its property. Mr Humphries might now go to his Chief Minister and say that, although it is now too late, it certainly would have been appropriate to argue with the Commonwealth that it should clear up its part of the Kingston site before handing it over to the ACT. He would find his colleagues from the Liberal States pushing very hard that that is exactly what the Commonwealth should do. But, of course, there is no such pressure from the ACT, to the detriment of this Territory.
That shot apart, I would be interested if Mr Humphries reported back at some stage on the debate, if it got to that level of detail, about the communications towers that are proliferating around Australia. I found great support from across the continent on this issue. Local shires were wanting to know how it was that the ACT Government - the Follett Government - could act to put a control on it. Unfortunately, the provisions that apply here do not apply in the States. Certainly, they were very keen to see that they had the same measure of control as we had. Subsequently, of course, Mr Lee, the Communications Minister, brought down some new, although I do not think quite comprehensive enough, guidelines to handle that. But I would be interested if Mr Humphries would at some stage, perhaps informally, indicate to me what the States and local authorities have been able to do to contain that problem.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Arts and Heritage and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (3.38), in reply: In concluding this debate, Mr Speaker, I will respond to a couple of issues raised by Mr Wood. Certainly, I think the issue of the telecommunications towers was one of the important issues dealt with at this meeting, in an in-principle way at least; and I am looking forward to being able to press home the partial resolution of that matter, which I think Mr Wood was partly responsible for, which is for the carriers who are responsible for building these towers at least to have regard to Territory or State planning laws when they are building these towers, even if they are not actually technically bound by these laws. At least that would be an improvement on the situation that existed at the time that those towers first started to be built.
I do not think it is too late to raise with the Commonwealth the questions about contaminated sites. Certainly, for example, we have an issue to raise with the Commonwealth about funding of contaminated sites inherited by the ACT, represented by those sites associated with former sheep dips. So, there are a number of issues yet to be worked out with the Commonwealth. I would not quite write off the Commonwealth, notwithstanding the budget delivered this week.