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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 173 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

The options open to members of the Assembly on that day were to move for the disallowance of the variation as presented, but they chose not to. They chose not to because they said that they agreed with the majority of the work, that the reviewers got it right, but they disagreed on the issue of dual occupancy. We had got it 95 per cent right, but there was this one little bit that was not agreed to.

Then we got down to experts at 30 paces: "My experts are better than your experts." Mr Corbell uses Professor Weirick. In the notes here I say that the view that PALM put forward through variation 114 were supported by Professor Ken Taylor, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Canberra, and Mr Eric Martin, a heritage architect and former chair of the ACT Heritage Council. Variation 114 went to the ACT Heritage Council, which agreed with it as well, and it was tabled.

In the main it was accepted by this place as being a vast step forward on the previous unclear protections that had been put in place in about 1994; it was a big step forward. We get then to the point of dispute over whether there should be dual occupancies in Old Red Hill and how we should go about that. It was moved that the Assembly recommend to the executive that the planning authority be directed to review-we seem to gloss over the word "review"-the Territory Plan as it relates to variation 114.

Mr Corbell: To provide for.

MR SMYTH: Yes, it does go on to say, "To provide for." So you review with that view in mind; you do not review to make that happen. It might happen, it might not happen or it might be a mix of both, but we have differing opinions and there is a dichotomy between the public and the professional view of what is appropriate in this circumstance.

The startling thing is that Mr Kaine has said, "Which part didn't you understand?" I would like to know what you understand by the word "review". You say that we should have a review and you vote for a review, but you do not want a review because you have already got in your mind a fixed outcome. It is not a review when you have already got an outcome.

Mr Kaine: You are dissembling, Minister.

MR SMYTH: Mr Kaine interjects, but he knows full well what the word "review" means. He says that the minister did not insist on anything and the minister tabled the result of the work done by the consultant. I looked at it. The reason PALM suggested that it go out to a consultant was that the people who were most likely to conduct the review inside PALM were the ones who had put variation 114 together, so they had more or less established a position that said that dual occupancy was okay.

If you are going to have a fair dinkum review, if you are going to have an honest an open review and if they have already come to a position-and PALM, through developing variation 114, clearly had come to that position-then you cannot be asking them honestly to review something that they have already decided on. If you actually want an honest review, an open review, a review with the possibility of different outcomes, then you cannot get the person who has already put a position on the table to do the review. PALM got an expert to go out and do the review.

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