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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3110 ..



Motion for Disallowance

MR CORBELL (10.34): Mr Speaker, I move:

That variation to the Territory Plan No. 94 relating to Federal Golf Club redevelopment made pursuant to the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 be disallowed.

Mr Speaker, the proposal to allow the development of 59 dwellings on the Federal Golf Club's lease is a longstanding and contentious issue. In the majority report of the Standing Committee on Urban Services inquiry into this proposal tabled earlier this week there has not been any recognition of the fundamental issues relating to the proper administration of leasehold in the ACT. Inconsistencies with the principles of the Territory Plan and the threat to Canberra's formal and informal open space areas are raised by this variation.

During its inquiry the committee received 121 public submissions on the variation. Previously 173 submissions were lodged with PALM when the draft variation was first released for public consultation earlier this year, and a further 408 submissions were made to PALM on the development application and the preliminary assessment. At each of these stages of consultation the clear majority of submissions were in opposition to the proposal to develop a residential area on the Federal Golf Club's lease. It is clear that both the ACT Government and the majority of members of the Urban Services Committee have failed to genuinely respond to the level of public concern regarding this proposal in deciding to recommend that this variation proceed. That is fundamentally why Labor is moving this disallowance this morning.

There is no doubt that if this draft variation is approved, in the words of one of the witnesses to appear at the committee's public hearing, the community will lose trust in the processes by which decisions are made in the Territory. Let me outline the justification for that statement. The decision by the Minister for planning, Mr Smyth, to endorse this variation explicitly breaches a commitment made by his predecessor in the previous Liberal Government, Mr Humphries. Mr Humphries said the Government would not reconsider this proposal. In fact, the commitment made by the then Minister was very clear. He said:

The Government will reject this proposal and not consider it again.

The fact that the current proposal is effectively the same, 59 residences instead of 61, only highlights why residents in the ACT genuinely wonder why they should continue to have faith in the planning decision-making processes of the Territory.

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