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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2661 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

We need to be vigilant. I do not think that the Planning Committee or this Assembly ought to conclude that, because today we approve the variation to the plan, that is the end of the matter. We should set up arrangements whereby the proposal and the phased development are monitored to see how it emerges. I imagine that the responsibility for this should fall primarily on the Planning and Environment Committee. I suggest that, for the life of this Assembly at least, the committee revisit this every 12 months and see what is happening there and see whether what is beginning to emerge on the ground is what we thought it was going to be.

It may cause some difficulties if people start pouring concrete and building roads and then we come along and say, "That really is not what we wanted. Would you move the roads over here a few feet, put a few bends in them and generally change the direction?". I am not suggesting anything as drastic as that. We have to accept the general skeleton outline of what is proposed, but I do believe that there is a need for some surveillance at the political level, given the importance of the site. As Mr Moore said, you do not often develop a new town centre. This may be the last one for a long time. This time I hope we get it right. There has been a lot of criticism of previous town centre developments. Hopefully, this one will be the one where there will not be too much criticism after it is finished.

In connection with the Minister's threat, promise or undertaking to have something happen there this year, he might have got on better if he had promised that all members of the Planning and Environment Committee could have their names on the plaque, alongside his, when he puts the plaque up there. Then there might have been a bit more enthusiasm on the part of some members of the committee to get the proposal up and running. He might note that for the next town centre development, if he is listening. I intended to be brief. I have said all that I wanted to say. The community in Gungahlin was anxious to get this centre started. They believe that it is time that they had a town centre. I agree with them. It is time to get on with it.

MS HORODNY (3.36): I need to correct something that Mr Berry said. Unfortunately, he is not here. He said that Delma impar was an endangered species. This species is still an endangered species, and that is important to remember. The grasslands are a highly endangered ecosystem. The Planning Authority is to be commended for this plan, which is a great improvement on the previous plan. This whole issue again brings up the very strong need to have in place in the ACT a reserve system to protect our ecosystems. This would provide not only security for investors and developers but also, obviously, greater security for the ecosystems and for the endangered flora and fauna in those ecosystems. I believe that the Government is looking at a strategic plan for the ACT. I can only say that it is not a moment too soon.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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