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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1199 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Following the Chief Minister's letter to members concerning her statements in this place over the proposed rural residential development at Kinlyside, I reviewed my own remarks in Hansard on this subject. I wrote to members on 4 August this year and indicated that I too used the word "leases" where I should have more accurately used the word "blocks" to describe what the proponent brought to the table in his negotiations with officials of the Chief Minister's Department.

As the Chief Minister has already indicated, the fundamental problem in this case is the way in which "block" and "lease" are used interchangeably by many Canberrans, including public servants and politicians, and their failure to identify the technical difference in this case. Mr Speaker, it is an important principle in this place that where a Minister or member inadvertently misleads the house he or she rises at the first opportunity to correct the record immediately after the mistake has been pointed out. Both the Chief Minister and I are doing that today, as we both wrote to members in early August to correct the record.

As the Chief Minister has said, the unintentional confusion of "leases" with "blocks" does not in any way alter the substantive material presented to this Assembly as the reason the Government agreed with Mr Whitcombe not to proceed with the development on the basis proposed but rather to subject the concept to a competitive process. That reason is that, while Mr Whitcombe brought certain parcels of land to the table, now correctly identified as blocks, it became clear to him that he did not have authority in relation to those blocks. It is fair to say, Mr Speaker, that this could have been better expressed by me in the course of my remarks in debate, but I reject entirely the assertion by the Opposition that the Chief Minister and I wilfully and deliberately misled the Assembly on this matter.

The Chief Minister has explained at some length to the Assembly today the history of the Kinlyside rural residential proposal. I wish to make clear the fact that this proposal is not proceeding as first envisaged because of the thorough process set by the Government for the developer to meet certain significant preconditions - unparalleled, as the Chief Minister described them in her statement. The Territory was protected by the preliminary agreement with the developer, unlike previous ventures entered into by the other side of this house when they were in government, where the legacy lives on and continues to cost the Territory dearly.

The decision not to proceed with this development in this form does not signify a decision by the Government not to proceed with rural residential development in the ACT - far from it. We believe now, as we did while evaluating this proposal, that rural residential developments offer a level of supply to meet an emerging demand by the people of the Canberra, demand which at the moment can be met only by the purchase of blocks across the border, thereby depriving the ACT of a valuable source of revenue.

Mr Speaker, as the Chief Minister said, few issues have been debated as extensively in this Assembly as this one. Despite grubby attempts by members of the Opposition to link Mr Whitcombe's proposal in some improper way with members of the Government, their accusations do not stand up to scrutiny. In debate on this matter on 28 May 1998,

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