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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2349 ..

National Memorial Park

MR HIRD: My question is directed to the Minister for Urban Services. Can the Minister update this parliament on the latest progress on the establishment of a national memorial park in the ACT? Can he inform the parliament as to what support he has received for the proposal so far?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Hird for his question. Mr Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to inform the Assembly that the Commonwealth Government has indicated its support for a national memorial park to be set up in the ACT. I received a letter from the Federal Minister for Housing and Regional Development, the Hon. Brian Howe, on 9 November. In his letter Mr Howe acknowledged the growing importance of the memorials in the ACT, as well as the increasing awareness of and pride in the national capital. He stated that the National Capital Planning Authority will consider the concept of a national memorial park as part of its review which is currently under way into Canberra's central national area. Mr Speaker, I look forward to the enthusiastic involvement of the NCPA, which has been asked to cooperate with the ACT Government in preparing a comprehensive proposal which can be considered in the near future. In the meantime, the feasibility study conducted by the Department of Urban Services into the establishment of a national memorial park will be released next month.

I have written to the current Leader of the Opposition, Ms Follett, requesting her party's bilateral support for this proposal, which I believe transcends party politics. I am surprised and disappointed to say that so far she has not seen fit to respond. I hope that Ms Follett or her successor will see the potential in such a memorial, unlike her short-sighted colleagues and possible heirs apparent, Mr Whitecross and Mr Berry, who have publicly scoffed at the idea. For example, Mr Berry said in a media release issued on 3 August that my idea for a national memorial park has made me the laughing stock of the country.

Mr Berry: It did.

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, Mr Berry should be asked whether it means that his Federal colleague on the hill, Mr Howe, is also a laughing stock due to his support for a national memorial. I think not. I think this highlights the lack of foresight of those opposite, and once again proves just how out of step the Stalinist Left section of the Labor Party that we have in the Territory are with their interstate and Federal colleagues.

Another colleague, Mr Whitecross, also put his foot in his mouth when he said in a press release dated 25 July that I should focus on the day-to-day problems of managing the ACT rather than thinking of what he described as a "grand scheme" like a national memorial. Mr Whitecross, who is still a novice in the political arena, will one day learn that, while managing day-to-day business is an important part of any job, so too is consideration of the future development of Canberra, including ideas like the national memorial park, which can only serve to enhance the ACT's tourism and national capital status.

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