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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (17 April) . . Page.. 1000 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

then commonsense dictates that you take special care to ensure that the process of developing that site takes that into account. It may be that on occasions you will need to have some elaborate process like a preliminary environmental assessment, a public environmental report, or maybe even an environmental impact statement where there is some significant problem, or potential problem, with the proximity to a particular site. The Belconnen Soccer Club site at McKellar, for example, may have some elements of that dimension which need to be looked at, and that is why a public environmental report is now being conducted in respect of that site.

Mr Speaker, I think Ms Horodny confuses in her mind the issue of the knowledge about contaminated sites with the existence of a register. You do not have to have a register to know about those sites' existence. Indeed, Mr Speaker, the Government is doing a great deal at the moment, as did the previous Government, to compile information about contaminated sites that were created through the use of sheep dips. We also know about other contamination as information comes to hand. For example, recently, there has been information about contamination at the site of the Kingston depot. That is the sort of site where you would have to have some preliminary work done before any building occurred. So, let me assure Ms Horodny that the fact that there is contamination, or some other problems such as landfill, is not an issue which can be examined only in the context of a register of contaminated sites, because the problem with the site itself then triggers extra care about the way in which it is developed.

MS HORODNY: As a supplementary question, I ask: Has there been ongoing work occurring to identify and assess old landfill sites in the ACT?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I note that there has been a lot of work done on sites with various forms of contamination, and that work has been extremely exhaustive. In some cases it has consisted of taking old aerial photographs, taken during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, and minutely examining them to spot indicators of uses of that land before it was occupied by, say, housing, to determine whether there was any likelihood of a sheep dip or some other potentially contaminating use of that land before it was ultimately used for housing or something else.

As to the identifying of landfill sites, I cannot be precise about that. I will take that part of the question on notice and I will find out. But let me say that any site which constitutes a basis for concern about the impact on the environment or later users of that site deserves to be carefully recorded at least and the history of that site borne in mind when the site is developed. In fact, as far as I am aware, Mr Speaker, there are very few examples of developments having occurred without that knowledge having been available. Obviously, the exception to that is the sheep dip sites. But they are, I think it is true to say, the exception rather than the rule. We have to develop a process to make sure that those things do not happen again, by having complete knowledge about those sorts of sites across the Territory.

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