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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2659 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

perhaps has further discussions with the Planning Authority on exactly how we see that issue and how it ought to be resolved. There were a number of other smaller issues that were dealt with in our report, but those other issues were certainly not enough, as far as we were concerned, to prevent us from proceeding with the variation to the Territory Plan to allow construction of the Gungahlin Town Centre to begin. It is time it did, and members generally agreed that it should go ahead.

I would like to say one other thing. The Minister had announced that he would turn the first sod prior to Christmas. This was a very dangerous move on the part of the Minister because, if anything, that was more an enticement for us to knock it back than one to put it through; and the Minister could well be warned about the impact of this sort of statement in the future. The welfare of the people of Gungahlin and the need for their town centre were much more overriding factors than the politics of the issue, and that is why we have a unanimous report today. I thank members for their efforts in working to the pressure of the very short time that we had from the time the variation and the reports were presented to us until we had an extraordinary meeting at lunchtime today to finalise this report. I particularly offer my thanks to the secretary of this committee, Rod Power, who, it seems, no matter how much work we take on and how many issues we have going at once - whilst he always looks a little more bedraggled with each of them - manages to deliver in a way that, I think, is becoming legendary.

MR BERRY (3.25): As the chair of this committee's predecessor, I would like to say a few words about the history of this issue. It is dealt with in part at pages 1 and 2 of the report which has been tabled today by Mr Moore. The issue of Delma impar was one that came to the notice of the former Planning Committee. As a result, there will be more notice taken of the environmental impacts of development in the various suburbs. I hope that the pace that has been set in relation to the identification of creatures and native species of any sort that might be affected by development will now form part of a mind-set of those involved in the various areas of planning in the ACT. I hope that they will take note of it. I hope that what was started with the discovery of Delma impar on this site will lead to a more sensitive approach to the environment, particularly to endangered species, in the future. It started a process where other endangered species were discovered on other sites, and certainly more care is being taken.

Mr Moore made some comment about the Minister promising to turn the first sod this year. I do recall, Mr Speaker, your saying in the election campaign that, no matter what happened, the construction would be started this year, legless lizards or no legless lizards. We have set out a plan to save the legless lizards, and you will not have to ride roughshod over them, even if that might have been your intention if you had been forced to the position. From the point of view of Labor at least, we have made an important save in terms of that species. There was some criticism of that because it is not a warm and fluffy creature. It is a creature that is rarely seen by anybody. I suppose that it owes its survival to its ability to hide, because it is not the sort of creature that would last long if it were out in the open. Whilst there might be hundreds or even thousands of them on this site, I am sure that they will prosper. The efforts of this Assembly in relation to their future ought to be recognised.

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