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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 2238 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Whilst we may feel confident in this day and age that land that has been contaminated in some way has been effectively remediated, there will always remain, I believe, the risk that in some future years it may be found that the land has not been remediated to a state where it could be seen as safe. I believe that it is appropriate that, when making decisions about living on land or living close to land that has been contaminated and remediated, residents and citizens know the history of that land. I think that is an appropriate course of action. That was my first additional comment.

The second additional comment was in relation to the issue of open standing to allow citizens, community organisations, residents groups and indeed any other person in our community to seek to appeal a decision of the Environment Protection Authority where they believe that that decision has not been made correctly. As a matter of principle, as I outlined in my additional comments, I believe that it is appropriate that, as a community, we allow citizens to appeal the decisions of government authorities where they believe that the law has been interpreted incorrectly.

As I pointed out, this does provide an additional watchdog role over the actions of government departments and other agencies. This is a vexed issue. I recognise that it is a vexed issue. But, on balance, I believe that in this case it is appropriate that open standing be provided for. That was certainly the submission made to the committee by the Environmental Defenders Office, and it was a position which was objected to by other bodies putting forward evidence at the committee's hearings. But, when we sought some evidence as to the effect of open standing and the vexatious elements that some people believe it creates, that evidence was not forthcoming.

So, Mr Speaker, on balance, I believe it is appropriate that those additional comments are made as part of the report. I hope that the Minister and the Government will take those comments on board in their consideration of the committee's report on the exposure draft. Overall, this is an important piece of legislation. It is a piece of legislation which should be welcomed. It is vital in this day and age that we have an effective regime for managing the remediation and allocation and knowing where contaminated sites are. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MR HUMPHRIES (Acting Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer)(10.41): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to present the Evidence (Closed-Circuit Television) (Amendment) Bill 1998.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I present the Evidence (Closed-Circuit Television) (Amendment) Bill, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

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