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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (31 August) . . Page.. 2654 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

My amendment No. 2 proposes that the register include all sites for which an order has been made but not just where an order is in force. However, in amendment No. 3, sites that have been assessed as not being contaminated in the first place can be taken off the register, but sites that have been assessed as contaminated and have had a remediation or environment protection order placed on them would remain on the register indefinitely.

Under the new subsection (5), however, there would be an additional entry in the register when the order had been completed or revoked, so the public would be able to distinguish between current and former contaminated sites. I do hope we get support for this amendment, because it is a basic one that shows that the ACT does have regard for environmental principles and deserves the title of a leader in environment which was given to the ACT recently for a number of reasons. It makes a laughing stock of us if something as basic as this is not incorporated in this legislation. For heaven's sake, New South Wales and Queensland think it is okay.

MR CORBELL (5.32): Mr Speaker, the Labor Party will be supporting these amendments. In our view they are the central amendments proposed by Ms Tucker and the most important. If their family were contemplating purchasing a piece of land, I am sure all members would expect to have the opportunity to know what had happened on that land. If there had been contamination and if that contamination had been remediated, you should have a right to know what has occurred on that land. You should not have that information denied to you. That is what is proposed in the Bill as it currently stands, and that is what Ms Tucker's amendments attempts to rectify. You should not have that information denied to you. You should be able to make an informed decision. If you are confident that the measures taken to remediate - - -

Ms Tucker: Excuse me, Mr Speaker, can I just raise an issue here? Mr Osborne has the balance of power on these amendments, and I would appreciate it if he could listen to the debate.

MR SPEAKER: Continue, Mr Corbell

MR CORBELL: These amendments remove the right of the Government to deny you information about what has happened that land. If you are proposing to purchase land, you should have the opportunity to know what has occurred there. Then you can make an informed choice about whether or not you believe the remediation has been adequate. If you believe that the contamination has been appropriately dealt with, if you have confidence in the processes and procedures used to remediate a site, then you will have no difficulty in purchasing that land. Equally, if you have a concern about the land, if whilst everything has been done according to the law you are still concerned about the potential impact that contamination may have down the track as our knowledge about that type of contamination continues to grow, then you are entitled to access to information about what has occurred on that land. That is what these amendments are about.

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