Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 291 ..
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.12): Mr Speaker, as the chair of that committee, I have been particularly interested in the government response here. I think that we ought not to be negative about it. I realise from my discussions with Mr Smyth that there is a long-term issue as well as the short-term issue. I remember discussing with Louise Littlewood her dissenting comments, which I think can be summarised as saying: "There is a physical constraint. How quickly can we do this?", rather than saying: "There is a problem with the notion itself".
I think that anybody who takes the opportunity to enjoy our night sky should realise what a phenomenal tourist opportunity we have in selling it - particularly because we have the Mount Stromlo Observatory, which has now become more tourist oriented, as well as the observatories in Dickson and so forth.
As part of the work within that committee report, I also spent a night near Coonabarabran at the observatory there. I must say that it reminds me just how fantastic an Australian night sky can be, compared to almost anywhere else in the world. It is something that, I think, does give us a huge amount of opportunity. It is something that, provided that we put in a graded approach, a transitionary approach, with the long-term goals in mind, we can achieve. It is something that we can then hand onto our children to keep going and something that they can enjoy. I think it is a worthwhile exercise. It is really just a matter of how we go about the long-term implementation.
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (11.13), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank all members for their interest in this issue. Very clearly, as Mr Corbell has pointed out and as Mr Moore has confirmed, what we have in the ACT is a wonderful opportunity to look at the night sky. Part of what the report said, though, was that, before we go ahead, we need to work through those technical issues and come to an agreement on what is appropriate and should be used in the ACT. The Government has said that we will look at these issues. Ms Tucker asked whether, when we had done our analysis, I would report to the Assembly. The report actually says that we will bring that back to the Assembly so that we all know of that.
There are short-term and immediate issues and there are long-term issues. I think the Government in its response indicates that it is aware of all of these issues and we will move to address them. We might not agree entirely with the committee in the way that they should be addressed; but, in terms of starting, it is to set the technical parameters and get that right and then work forward from there. So, for all the work that was done by the committee members, I would thank them. I think it is an interesting subject. I have been up to the observatory. Several people have spoken to me about developing the night tourist industry, which depends on the night sky. The ACT has wonderful access, being quite high and not having some of the air quality problems that other cities have. The Government would like to see that occur.
Two points were made earlier by Mr Hargreaves about the incident at Gilmore and the car park at the Tuggeranong Town Centre. We seem to be having a plethora of imaginary friends and informal reports appearing. Last week, with section 41, there was an unnamed tree specialist who was giving reports. When Mr Hargreaves raised with me the