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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4649 ..

Interim Report on the Acton-Kingston Land Swap - Government Response

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (5.22): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the Government's response to Report No. 11 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment entitled "Interim Report on the Acton/Kingston Land Swap" which was presented to the Assembly on 15 May 1996. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Mr Speaker, this Government response has been prepared to update the Legislative Assembly on where we are up to now with the Acton-Kingston land swap. As the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment was told by officials on 22 November, the Government is still waiting to hear from the Commonwealth on the details of the agreement, and, in this sense, the Government response is an interim response to an interim report, Mr Speaker.

While the Government has accepted most of the recommendations of the report, it is important to realise that the committee's recommendation that the land swap be renegotiated in accordance with the recommendations of its report was not necessary. Most of the matters that the committee sought to have renegotiated are, in fact, the details that are yet to be negotiated. They were always part of the detail that would need to be resolved before any transfer of land could occur. Mr Speaker, when the Territory does hear from the Commonwealth about their position on the details yet to be resolved, the committee's recommendations will be useful in formulating an ACT response.

On 21 November 1996 I announced the preliminary results of contamination at Kingston. Far from the poisoned wasteland that the Opposition and the Greens had warned us about, contamination at Kingston is both limited and manageable. This has allowed us to press on with the design competition for a world-class development at Kingston. The Acton-Kingston land swap has opened up two of the prime sites in Canberra. Apart from Kingston, we expect that the Commonwealth will use Acton in a way consistent with its significance. Acton will not be lost to Canberra; it will be developed in the national interest. Mr Speaker, I thank the committee for its report and I hope to be able to report back to the Assembly very soon, when we have heard from the Commonwealth.

MR MOORE (5.24): Mr Speaker, in fact, a response of the committee is sitting on my desk. You may recall that the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment presented an interim report on the Acton-Kingston land swap. We received a great deal of criticism from this Government for referring to it as an interim report - unfair criticism, I might add. We are now prepared to put down a further report - I will be able to do that shortly - which I think will deal with some of the issues that the Government has raised here.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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