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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 486 ..



Assembly's resolution of 28 May 1998 supporting the Government's commitment to rural residential development in the ACT.

Mr Speaker, the involvement in this process is that PALM prepared for the Government a way forward on their commitment for rural residential development. In the Government's response to the Rural Policy Taskforce in 1997, Mr Humphries said quite clearly - and he took it to the election - that the ACT Government was in favour of rural residential development. We employed a consultant to assist us to prepare this discussion paper, to prepare the way forward for the implementation of rural residential development. Mr Speaker, it is quite clear and it is curious. We took this to the election. If you want to consult some of the booth results out at Hall, I think you will be surprised that the Liberal vote out there far outweighs the Labor vote.

In 1998 the Government commissioned a study into rural residential development in the ACT, and the study was undertaken by an independent team of planning experts and economic consultants. They are not from my department. They are clearly independent of the Government in that response. The report itself included a broad financial analysis of the merits of rural residential development and identified possible sites - Kinlyside, Melrose Valley and North Gungahlin. It also incorporated reference to the Assembly's resolution of 28 May 1998 supporting the introduction of rural residential development. The report was released as a discussion paper for broad community consultation on 29 October, for an initial period of some six weeks, but we actually extended it. A total of 31 submissions were received. A report on the results of that consultation process is now being prepared.

It is curious that Mr Corbell thinks that this implementation of government policy is in fact some sort of analysis of government policy. If you want to have input into government policy, you can come and join the Liberal Party and attend our policy conventions, as many members do. But this is about implementation. It is not an independent analysis of the Government's policy. It is not an inquiry into government policy. We brought in some consultants to help us develop a path forward because they had some special knowledge of this and we wanted to make use of it.

Mr Speaker, I would say again that perhaps in that first line that first "independent" should not have been there, but it is quite true the discussion paper was prepared as part of an independent study for the Territory, and this is what we have. It is part of the discussion paper. Mr Corbell has seen these documents, and he will see that a number of government agencies were consulted. They included the Office of Asset Management, Environment ACT and the Emergency Services Bureau. Indeed, ACT Housing were included in these discussions. Oddly enough, some non-ACT government groups were consulted during the paper's development, including the National Capital Authority, neighbouring New South Wales councils, the Conservation Council of the South-East Region and Canberra, the Hall and District Progress Association and the Rural Lessees Association.

This is a process about putting in place government policy. This is a process about putting in place a resolution that the Assembly passed that rural residential development should go ahead and that we should have a path forward. This is about the path forward.

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