Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3122 ..
MR HIRD (continuing):
We have a planning system in place. It is what we have to work with at the moment. I have no doubts that it will change in the future, and that is how it should be. Growth and development should not be stifled by an inflexible system. The system needs to be flexible, capable of interpretation and designed to be able to grow with the times. This means that there will be debate over many proposals, and I would submit that this is one of the strong points of our democracy. In this particular case the debate within the committee, after considering all the facts, led to a majority recommendation favouring the Federal Golf Club's proposal.
Finally, the majority recommendation is made in recognition of the depth of feeling, the sincerity and the commitment of those who have opposed the application, as well as in recognition of the good faith of the proponents and of their willingness to compromise. Mr Speaker, if that golf club was not there today, what would be there? If that golf club was not a buffer, what would be there?
My committee could only judge the matter before it on the evidence given to us under the terms of reference, as I indicated in my opening remarks, and we did so justly and fairly. We did not have a preconceived opinion. Some may say that some members may have, but let the record show that I had no pre-decision on the outcome of the inquiry that my committee undertook. I judged the evidence before me, that is the way the recommendations came down. Mr Rugendyke can speak for himself. I am certain that he will speak on this issue.
Mr Speaker, on that note I strongly urge members to support the majority recommendation of my committee.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.25): Mr Speaker, I would like to remind members that when I accepted the position as Minister for Health I did so on a series of conditions about Cabinet solidarity. One of the areas where I separated myself from the Government was an area on which I have always had a very strong difference with the Liberal Party - leasehold and planning. When I make a decision on issues of leasehold and planning, they are not decisions that are governed by any sense of Cabinet or government solidarity. There will be times when I agree with the Government on some planning issues. It will be because that is the decision I come to, not because of solidarity. This case is not one on which I agree with the Government.
We have a choice to make. I think the planning committee, in looking at the issue, should have been aware that the choice is between delivering a city like Canberra, which we know and love, and delivering a city like the Gold Coast, which was established at about the same time as Canberra. The Gold Coast took the sort of attitude we heard about from Mr Hird - a fairly laissez-faire approach - to planning and where to locate things. Although the Gold Coast may have some temperature advantages on odd occasions, it does not have the beauty and the workability of a city like Canberra.
When government decisions are made, they are almost always made on a cost-benefit analysis. There is some advantage and there are some disadvantages. Decisions are invariably made according to whether we think the costs outweigh the benefits or vice versa. In this case it is quite clear that there is a diversity of opinion as to where that line is drawn. To me, it is fairly straightforward. When members are considering this