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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 489 ..


: I think I am addressing the question. The question here is that they do not like it that we are going forward and implementing something that has Assembly approval. We have a recommendation. We had a vote last year from the Assembly approving rural residential going ahead. We are exploring options. We have brought in independent advice to help us with that. The discussion paper has now been released. I would say again that I regret the "independent" perhaps in the wrong place.

Independent advice helped to put this together, then in consultation with various arms of government and indeed the community the discussion paper was put together. The discussion paper is out there. The process is clearly documented in the papers that Mr Corbell has chosen, the 1,600 out of the 5,000 that he possibly could have taken. Discussion papers have various iterations. It is quite a clear process.

I remember a debate not so long ago when we were talking about some four drafts of the superannuation committee's discussion papers that changed, I would assume, over time and that changed without some of the members seeing copies of them. In one case I think Mr Hird jumped from version 2 to version 4 without seeing version 3. Clearly the process of drafting will see changes. Clearly consultants like the work they do and are defensive of what they come up with, but this was a paper that was about implementing government policy, about implementing a decision made by the Assembly and affirmed by the Assembly. The process is fine. I would regret that people have misunderstood or that I have made an inadvertent use of "independent" where I should not have but, Mr Speaker, the discussion paper is out there. This policy will go ahead and the black and white of it is that Labor do not like the whole thought of rural residential development. They have opposed it from the start, but it is important that we get on as a government with introducing and implementing our own policy and with implementing the will of the Assembly.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.54): This is, as you said, Mr Speaker, a very important motion. Censure motions are not brought lightly by any member of this place. This Minister stood up last year in the face of community concern about the development of a rural residential policy for the ACT and said that he had commissioned an independent process for assessing, independently of the Government, the prospect of a rural residential policy for the ACT. The Minister was quite specific about that. He has spoken consistently of an independent process, of an independent investigator, of an independent consultant. He told us as recently as yesterday that yes, he stood by his claims; that he had produced and circulated an independent study.

Mr Humphries: Yes, and he has retracted that today.

MR STANHOPE: That was not a retraction. The words used yesterday by the Minister - and we need to reflect on those - put the lie to the nonsense that the Minister has now just spoken in rebuttal of this motion. Yesterday Mr Smyth said:

We have had a process. I believe that it is an independent study and that the process here has been followed. The process of departments dealing with consultants in this has produced an independent study, yes.

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