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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3063 ..


MR SPEAKER: At the end of question time Ms McRae raised a matter concerning a legal interpretation arising from the budget debate. We have been in touch with the Attorney-General's Department, and they advise that they will have the information next week. I will arrange to circulate it to members.

Report of Board of Inquiry

Debate resumed from 21 November 1995, on motion by Mrs Carnell:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR WOOD (3.58): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave of the Assembly to speak without limitation of time. I hope I do not need it, but I might.

Leave granted.

MR WOOD: The board of inquiry claimed that there have been about a dozen inquiries into land tenure in the last 25 years. That is really not surprising, given the unique fact of a totally leasehold system and the controversy that inevitably follows, along with the varying expectations of the system from different sectors of the community. Disputes are certain. Planning issues are no less controversial. A number of reasons should have been investigated by the board as it considered why there have been persistent expressions of dissatisfaction without apparent solution. This argument goes back well beyond the 25 years surveyed. At paragraph 6.61 the board reports:

The Board is driven to the conclusion that administrators, and on occasions politicians, have been markedly impervious to criticism and persisted in pursuing practices which have jeopardised the integrity of the leasehold system.

Since this statement contains remarkable assumptions, it is not surprising that no attempt was made to examine the issue further. The board did not want to ask this politician or any other politician about it. The board, as it turned out, did not want to speak to me at all, nor to any other politician. I cannot comprehend that lack of interest from an inquiry into the administration of leasehold and planning as it totally ignored the various Ministers who, in the Westminster system under which we operate, have ultimate responsibility. Here I was, a Minister for about half the period under question, and the board did not want to know me. I had expected that I would be the first witness called, so that the board could assess the outcomes of the planning and lease systems against my requirements - the Government's requirements. When that did not happen, I believed I would be called last, so that I could indicate whether Government policies had been administered appropriately. That did not happen, and it was suddenly too late.

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