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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1273 ..

Motion of Censure

Debate resumed.

MS TUCKER (4.35): The Greens will be supporting this censure motion. We believe it is very important to send a clear message once again to this Government and its supporters that, while we are not opposed to development, we are very opposed to the erratic and ad hoc approach which has been a feature of this and past governments' approach to development and planning issues. We also believe that the Assembly has been misled in relation to the Hall/Kinlyside development, in particular as to the details of the status of the leases.

We still see processes being developed on the run. When we challenge the process and ask for reasons behind decisions, we are told that it is government policy. That is fine if government policy is actually supported by some rationale. For example, when I asked Mr Smyth in the Estimates Committee last week why the Government had decided to proceed with the development of section 56 and the Canberra Centre expansion before a strategic plan for Civic was developed and before we had seen the long awaited retail policy from government and before the "Our City" discussion paper had been progressed, Mr Smyth replied that the Government thought it was the right time for such development. When I asked the Minister why it was the right time the answer basically was: "Well, the Government just thinks it is". Mr Speaker, this does not inspire us with confidence. Neither does it inspire us with confidence when we hear the Chief Minister say, in response to questioning on the detail of advice and processes leading up to the decision to enter into a preliminary agreement for a joint venture for development of a rural subdivision around Hall, that rural subdivision is part of Liberal policy and therefore the Government has the right to pursue that agenda.

Mr Speaker, to convince us that the Government is responsible in implementing its policy, the very least we would want to see is the application of good planning principles before a decision is taken to enter an agreement with a developer. We would want to see the local community and broader community properly consulted. We would want to see an open and transparent process which leads to the selection of developer and partner in such a venture. This proposal has involved expenditure of a significant amount of money. The Government has consistently said that all the appropriate planning principles will be applied after the initial commitment to the joint venture has been made, but there are some fundamental problems with that. Implicit in the partnership is acceptance that there will be a rural subdivision. If in fact this is not the case, how can government be seen to have been responsible in allowing the expenditure of ratepayers' money at such a preliminary stage of the discussion?

Rural residential development is not currently allowed under the Territory Plan. How can the Government assume that this development could go ahead unless they think planning approval would just be a rubber stamp for their ideas? This has not gone through the Assembly. Maybe rural residential would be approved. This proposal though, I repeat, is contrary to the Territory Plan and the National Capital Plan. Most of the land is zoned as hills, ridges and buffer areas; which does not allow residential development.

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