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MR HIRD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. The Minister indicated that there was an eight-year waiting period prior to this initiative. Could the Minister inform the house of who implemented the eight-year period?
MR STEFANIAK: I am delighted to, Mr Hird. The eight-year waiting list was under the previous Labor Government.
McKellar Sporting Complex - Proposed Development
MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Humphries as Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning. I did give the Minister an hour-and-a-half or so’s notice of this question. Is the Government going to carry out an environmental impact statement to assess the impact on Lake Ginninderra, on the waters leading into it and on the local residents, of the proposed development of a sporting complex at McKellar? Why was such a major development, a sporting complex with grandstands and so forth, put in somewhere like McKellar, in among suburbs, rather than in somewhere like Bruce?
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, let me say, first of all, that it has not been put anywhere. The proposal from the Belconnen Soccer Club is presently before the Planning Authority. A preliminary environmental assessment has been commissioned. That was made available for public comment on 5 August this year, and public comment ends on 31 August. It is at that point that decisions will need to be made about whether this goes ahead. It is up to the Government to make that decision, on the advice of the Planning Authority. I will say that there are a number of arguments about that development which need to be carefully considered before a decision can be made. So the assumption in that question that it has already been signed, sealed and delivered is not warranted.
The preliminary environmental assessment has been done as per the legislation. On receipt of that assessment and consideration by the Planning Authority, a decision about an environmental impact statement - the second or more extreme or more elaborate step in the process - will be made on the basis of the adequacy of that first step. Obviously, the preliminary assessment is done by the applicant. If it appears not to have been done adequately, or to leave questions unanswered, or to otherwise leave open the question of whether this would have a deleterious impact on the environment in a broad sense, it is open to the Government to go to that second stage and have an EIS.
Environmental impact statements are not common, though, as Mr Moore would be well aware. There have been only a couple in the case of the ACT since self-government. One concerned West Belconnen, but I forget the other one. Certainly, they have not been common for developments in this Territory. Obviously, an impact on our downstream waters from a development on the shore of a waterway can be quite severe. Any building on the shore of a waterway almost certainly will result in some run-off, some soil erosion, and some damage, at least on a short-term basis, to the catchment area.