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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (26 March) . . Page.. 631 ..

Office Development - Turner

MR MOORE: My question is directed to Mr Humphries as Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning. Did you approve the development of block 1, section 58, Turner for a 10-storey office building, either personally or by delegation of your power? It is opposite Macarthur House.

MR SPEAKER: Do you need clarification of where that is, Mr Humphries?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I assume that he is talking about Northbourne House on the corner.

Mr Moore: Indeed.

MR HUMPHRIES: I have not personally approved that. I have seen criticism by Dr Mac Dickins of the Turner Residents Association about that decision. I must say that I had planned to contact Dr Dickins and talk to him about his criticism. I have had no contact at all with him on that issue. I had discussed it briefly with one of the LAPACs; I think it was LAPAC No. 2. I am certainly aware of the concerns that they have about it, but I am not aware of any applications being transmitted to me for me to make decisions on. I have indicated that we should certainly talk about that proposal. I think, with respect, the Turner residents and Dr Dickins have run for the pens before the matter has been decided and could not be reversed or reconsidered. I certainly am aware of their concerns and am quite prepared to consider the issues that they raise, although I have not, as best I can recall, received any formal communication from them on that subject, other than through the Canberra Times.

MR MOORE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Mr Humphries, you would be aware that another 10-storey office building in Turner would undermine the decentralised town centre plan. If a building like that were to go ahead, what do you tell the people of Gungahlin to whom you promised a vital town centre, when such a building would clearly undermine that process?

MR HUMPHRIES: What the Government has promised the people of Gungahlin is the location of government offices in Gungahlin at the first available opportunity. The Government has no intention that I am aware of - my colleagues might have other ideas - of housing any government public servants in any buildings in Turner. There is a proposal to decamp some public servants from the John Overall Offices across the road from that site.

If there is a private sector proposal for development of that particular site, that is one we will have to consider. The LAPACs would have to be appropriately involved in that process and would have to give us some advice on that subject. But I think, with respect, you should go back to the people who have raised this concern with you and say that, before they rush off to the newspapers and decry what they think is a decision, they should get in touch with us and talk about it and see whether it is some problem that we can fix before it gets to that stage.

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