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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4758 ..

MR WHITECROSS (continuing):

The changes in this legislation will make a very significant difference. A lot of truck operators simply will not be able to park a vehicle in a residential area. A lot of other people will have to change their domestic arrangements, the way they have their lease organised, if they are to continue to park a vehicle on their lease. For some people, it will not be worth doing that. Each operator will have to make his own decision, depending on the circumstances of his own lease. Let us not get into a situation where we simply say that there are no rights on the part of truck operators, who for years and years have been allowed to park their trucks in residential areas. Let there be no more gratuitous insults directed to those members of this Assembly who seek to balance those rights rather than seeking to side with one side and ignore the legitimate concerns of the other side.

MR MOORE (6.37): I presume the gratuitous insult has to do with the comment about being spineless and not being prepared to stand up and take action when it is entirely appropriate to protect the amenity of people against excessive noise at 5.30 in the morning, when we already recognise in our environment Act that 7 o'clock is a reasonable time. If that is a gratuitous comment, then let it stand, because I consider it a spineless act on the part of the two parties, who are moving into the usual combination for this sort of thing. We are quite used to the theatre of it, when Labor can pretend to be very different from the Liberal Party at budget time. You can vote against the budget because you say it is terrible, knowing very well that the budget is going to go through and also knowing very well that it is just as likely that you would have put up a very similar budget yourself anyway.

As to the comment by Mr Whitecross about lying, it is not a question of lying; it is a question of simply not making any statement. When a person is very unhappy with the way their neighbour operates a truck in the redevelopment of their property or perhaps because of the amount of noise that comes from a family, the propensity is for people to say, "No, we want to be as good a neighbour as possible. We do not want to interfere, so we say nothing". I cannot imagine anybody not having been in that situation at some stage or other. Sometimes it is better just to say nothing because you do not want to ruin the general neighbourhood sense and create tensions that will carry through to your family, to the children. Certainly, in some neighbourhoods we have seen those sorts of tensions arise. All members have seen them at some stage or other, with different people on different issues. It is a situation where the vast majority of people extend their tolerance to its very limit. Some people go beyond that tolerance, and that is what we are talking about. It is not a question of lying.

We are talking about a question of balancing rights. We are talking about those people who have a right to the general amenity around their home compared to people who need to have an alternative. If that alternative is that truck parking spaces need to be created and this legislation will be held off until they are created, this is an appropriate balance of rights. Mr Whitecross is absolutely correct in terms of his concept of balance. Many of the things we do in this Assembly are about balance. I am suggesting, and I think what Ms Horodny through her amendment is suggesting, is that the balance is not right; it is still unfairly in the favour of the truck drivers.

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