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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4841 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

people's liking. Within that, we are confident that the restrictions that are being put on the people's rights to appeal are correct. There is plenty of room for objection, and every objection is going to be taken seriously. It is going to be responded to and be offered a correct and serious place. I think, with that in line, objectors will have an opportunity to have their cases stated and dealt with. Then people who are adversely and severely affected will be able to appeal. We think that this is a correct and open process.

Above all, we are comfortable with this legislation so far, because it is 1996. It is not 1956 anymore. We are dealing with a city that is being redeveloped and finalised, not opened up. We are dealing with far more complex problems than ever assailed the first managers of leases in the ACT. We are dealing with people who have invested millions upon millions in their buildings and who are looking at being able to stay in this city, feeling that they are wanted, that their money is gladly taken and that they are praised for the input they give, rather than constantly being pointed to as some sort of scurrilous double-dealers, as we have heard today.

We think that this legislation will make it more secure for investors, in that they will know exactly what processes are to be followed, who is to be involved, what is required under the Territory Plan, what is required under the Land Act and how they are to be dealt with at every stage of the proceedings. What we are doing today is managing change and focusing it on the future. We have shaken out the leasehold system. We have shaken out the administration of the Territory Plan and our Land Act. We have taken the place of the Assembly, the place of the Minister and the place of land and lease management to its right place - to legislation.

Many people have criticised the Mant/Collins review for daring to suggest that lease management and planning - planning, in particular - is inherently a political process. I want to put on record that I believe that that is a very true statement. It is inherently a political process. To me, that means that we, the elected representatives, have to take responsibility for the decisions that we take, and we rise and fall on those decisions. I do not think that those decisions become lesser decisions because they are made after advice from a bureaucracy rather than from some statutory planner. What I am looking at is the process - where we begin, where we end, who is responsible and how they are accountable for that responsibility.

I will hear lots of argument about what we have lost. I will hear lots of argument, I am sure, about why it is so damaging to the Territory to lose statutory positions. I take no interest in any of that. What I am interested in is outcomes, accountability, openness of process and certainty. So far, this legislation meets my tests and Labor's tests. Locally represented members must be responsible and accountable. If we charge someone with being a Minister, that Minister must be accountable and responsible and must not shirk making the decisions that have been made by other people. I think perhaps Stein got some of his inquiry a little bit wrong, in that he did not pay sufficient attention to the political process and the responsibility of politicians versus the bureaucratic process. This legislation goes some way to putting into place the types of protections that our bureaucracy deserves and the removal of protections that our elected members do not deserve. We are here. We must be scrutinised for the decisions we take. We must take responsibility for them and not hide behind some process that is not openly accountable here. I believe that this legislation offers a way forward.

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