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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 499 ..



development proposal has already been mentioned by Mr Corbell; but I have identified a further anomaly regarding one of the other areas recommended for rural residential development in the report, and that is the Melrose Valley.

On the last sitting day in 1998, I asked Mr Smyth a question regarding how the Government had determined that Melrose Valley was suitable for rural residential development in its response to the Rural Policy Taskforce report, which pre-empted by some nine months the release of the Government's discussion paper on rural residential development where the assessment of suitable sites was supposed to have been undertaken. I had grave suspicions that a decision had been made some time ago within the Government that Melrose Valley was to be redeveloped for rural residential and that the discussion paper was merely rubber-stamping this prior decision.

Melrose Valley stood out particularly because it is currently a working rural property, and in the Rural Policy Taskforce report it was recommended that such properties be given 99-year leases. However, in the Government's response to the task force report, Melrose Valley was the only location that was excluded from consideration for a 99-year lease because of the Government's intention to undertake a study into rural residential development.

The Minister took the question on notice, but I was not provided with a response until the beginning of February, and only after some prompting. Unfortunately, the response was totally inadequate, as it referred only to the Government's discussion paper.

Ms Carnell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I think Ms Tucker is actually debating the report, rather than debating the motion that is in front of us. I think we were all willing to allow that to happen for a little while, but this is getting ridiculous.

MR SPEAKER: There is a question of relevance. I do uphold the point of order.

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, I would like to argue that. Basically, what I am saying here is that there has been an impression that we have been seriously misled about the independence of this report and I am actually giving more evidence as to why I believe that is not an independent report.

MR SPEAKER: You are supporting the argument?


Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, it has been conceded in this debate that, in the sense that Ms Tucker has referred to it, the report is not intended to be independent, and therefore this is all irrelevant to the debate. We are not debating the report. We are debating whether the Minister should be censured for what he has said about it.

MR SPEAKER: Again, I uphold the point of order. Please come back to the point of the motion, Ms Tucker.

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