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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4840 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

What Stein tried to put to rest was all the conspiracy theories that reigned; but, unfortunately, even an extensive inquiry such as Stein's could not quite put them to rest, although there was absolutely no finding of corruption or misdeed. In fact, I think that some of the chief bureaucrats were extremely badly treated as a result of the insinuations about the Stein report, as opposed to the correct findings. It was not a thorough investigation of those allegations, and for that I am sorry; but what it did show was where the levels of anxiety in the community come from and the reasons for the persistence of these notions of collusion and conspiracy. What we are seeing today is the correct outcome from that analysis - to put before the public, in the form of legislation, exactly what the processes are, how long they are going to take, who is responsible and how they are going to be dealt with if there is any form of appeal.

This is a solution for 1996. It is a solution that takes us into the future, not one that tries to peg us back to 1956, when we were primarily dealing with greenfield development and not with the complexities of the demands that are being put on leases, land, buildings and the whole management of the ACT. We believe that the formation of the PALM Group and putting into legislation the process of pre-application and then the process of application for development typify the sorts of changes that we need for 1996 and the future and move us forward from the romantic notion that land was so wonderfully managed back in the good old days.

Overwhelmingly, I believe that this legislation is trying to achieve something that is well covered by a very contemporary buzz word, and that is "outcomes". This legislation, in our opinion, focuses on outcomes: Where do people want to go, how are we going to get there, who is in charge, who is in the way, and what do you need to go through to get there? It squarely puts the responsibility for those final decisions and their evaluation on the people who rightly should have that responsibility - the Minister; the Government; the Assembly, in some cases; ultimately, if there is a problem, the Commissioner for Land and Planning; and, if there is another problem, the AAT. The whole process is transparent. There is no hiding. People who are responsible are publicly responsible and publicly accountable, and their responsibilities are clearly spelt out.

What we want from this legislation and what we believe it will deliver to pretty well a satisfactory extent is leasehold. This is Labor's view of what we want. That is what we would be looking to this legislation and subsequent legislation to amend the Land Act, which we know will be coming next year, to deliver. We want leasehold. There is no question of that, and there is no question of stopping that. We want leases to be granted properly, to be regranted properly and to be managed properly. We want the Territory Plan adhered to, correctly and openly. We want our community rights protected in such a way that the community feel secure about their right to protect their rights, as well as actually having their rights protected.

We want a Minister who takes responsibility and is able to argue - in the way that we saw today, with full public disclosure - his decisions, why he made them and the information that led to the decisions that were made, in such a way that the general public can feel secure that there is no possibility of decisions being made that are not in accord with the law. We want an arbitrator. We are getting one in the Commissioner for Land and Planning. We want a final umpire, which is the AAT, should things not go according to

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