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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3963 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

pamphlet which Ms Tucker has circulated, because that is not the full story. It is one part of the story but it is not the full story, I would imagine.

I propose - and I think my colleague Mr Wood will assist me in this shortly - to adjourn this debate until the Assembly decides that it is properly informed on the matter. Then we can decide whether or not to continue the debate. If the Assembly rejects that approach, I foreshadow now that I will move an amendment to Ms Tucker's motion to allow the Assembly to send a message about our concern about woodchipping in the south-east forests but in a way which does not require us to make detailed decisions about the specific areas that Ms Tucker has raised.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.24): Mr Speaker, I rise to express sentiments similar to those of my colleague Mr Corbell. I am a little bit surprised at the parochialism expressed by the Chief Minister, the great advocate of regionalism. I recall the Chief Minister not all that long ago suggesting that she would be sponsoring a referendum in the region with the view of developing a regional government for Canberra and the region. Here we have a Chief Minister prepared to foster and sponsor a referendum on the basis of the need for us to better represent the interests of the region as a whole now arguing quite stridently against the prospect of sending a letter to the Government responsible for the surrounding area.

The people of the ACT have a very particular and strong interest in relation to things that go on within our region. The south coast of New South Wales, together with the south-east region of New South Wales, is a region of Australia that is of great importance to the people of Canberra. It is an area in which we have a particular interest. There is an enormous community of interest between Canberra and the entire region, in particular the south-east region.

It beggars belief that we should not feel ourselves able to approach a neighbouring government about issues of mutual interest. There is a whole range of issues in relation to which there is mutuality of interest. Are members opposite suggesting that, were a circumstance to arise, we would not write to Bob Carr about certain activities of the New South Wales Government in relation to the catchment area of Googong Dam?

Are members opposite seriously suggesting that we would not consult the New South Wales Government about aspects of the environmental impact of the very fast train? Are members opposite seriously suggesting that we would not contact the New South Wales Government about environmental aspects of the operation of the Canberra Airport? Would they seriously suggest that they would adopt this strident attitude that has been adopted here? No, they would adopt this strident attitude only when it impacted on some ideological position that they had already developed about the matter of concern.

Mr Corbell has put the position very well and very clearly. We do not support Ms Tucker's motion in its current form. We believe that the issues raised in the motion require some serious consideration by the members of this Assembly. They are issues in relation to which, in the context of a debate such as this, we need to be more precise. We need a better developed approach.

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