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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (26 May) . . Page.. 600 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

endorsed until the public is given further opportunity to comment on the proposal, it seems to me that there is only one logical course of action for him to take and that is to oppose the variation. I do not see how any other course of action is open to him; but Mr Berry has shown endless capacity to surprise us in this place, and I have no doubt that he will attempt to do so again.

Mr Speaker, to put this debate into a bit of context, though, let us be quite clear about this. This is not a new matter before this Assembly. This has been before this place time and again over the last few years. In fact, it is my recollection that in late 1996 the Assembly received and passed, I think unanimously, a Bill which I proposed, as the then Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning, in a sense to force a resolution of a longstanding dispute over Northbourne Oval between the Canberra District Rugby League Club, as I think it was called, and the ACT Leagues Club. That proposal had unanimous endorsement, including, as I recall, endorsement from the Labor Party in this place. The then spokesperson for the Labor Party on planning matters, Ms McRae, always indicated to me her support for the Government's moves to settle the matter of dividing the lease of Northbourne Oval so as to provide for two leases to issue rather than one - a lease over the oval itself to the Raiders and a lease over the club site to the club. That was never indicated as any problem.

What the variation which has been proposed to the Assembly does, Mr Speaker, is to provide for that to take place; nothing more, nothing less. So it comes as a little bit of a surprise, I imagine, to some observers of this process to see Mr Berry's change of heart on the question of the variation. It is perfectly clear that this variation is necessary to allow the division of that block into two leases to occur. It has always been accepted that that is so. I have never had any argument or view put by any members that there is any other way of dealing with this problem. I think that members ought, therefore, to allow that to proceed as early as is reasonable.

I understand it was put to the committee that there were some issues concerning work to be conducted at the Leagues Club on that site, which would suggest that this variation should be done sooner rather than later. I would hardly suggest, I might say, that six months after the consultation period began is exactly soon; nonetheless, it is sooner than otherwise would be the case should Mr Berry move a motion of disallowance. Mr Speaker, I do not believe that that is necessary. I believe that this variation is appropriate and necessary, and I call on the Assembly to support it. I believe that the debate on this matter has been very extensive, both inside and outside this chamber. I would ask members not to further delay this process but to allow this longstanding dispute over this area of land in the ACT to be settled by the acceptance by the Assembly of the draft variation to the Territory Plan.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (5.08): Mr Speaker, I was listening to some of this debate and I thought it was important to put forward some of the perceptions that I gained as chair of the Planning and Environment Committee for the last three years. There is a precedent because there were a number of committee reports on which the members were divided two-all on previous occasions, as Mr Humphries will remember. As I recall, of the 52 statements or reports made to the Assembly, we divided two-all and the Assembly therefore made the final decision.

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