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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 46 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

underutilised car parks and building high-rise. Perhaps the Labor Party internally ought to caucus so they understand that when their leader goes out slating what the Commonwealth is doing it is actually what their planning spokesman wanted to happen.

MR WOOD: I ask a supplementary question.

Mr Berry: He won't answer the question.

MR WOOD: As Mr Berry says, there was no answer to the question. I can only assume from the minister's answer that he heard about it yesterday. He nods assent to that. You mentioned ongoing talks. Is that not the case? I think we are together on this. Minister, would you not agree that the inner ring around City Hill between Vernon Circle and London Circuit, of which this Assembly is part, is not for high-rise, not for residential, but should be reserved for significant public buildings? Would you agree with that statement? Secondly, is it not a fair proposition, if not a difficult one, that if the Commonwealth does not want the land, does not need it, it should cede it to the ACT?

Mr Moore: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The first part of the question asks for an expression of opinion or the announcement of policy, but I am sure Mr Smyth will be able to handle the second part of the question.

MR SMYTH: Mr Wood raises a couple of issues. Perhaps some of these are the constant planning mistakes Bill Wood made that Simon Corbell constantly refers to. We are still waiting for Mr Corbell to list those mistakes of Mr Wood. Mr Wood asked a couple of things. I am sure we have not ever said that the ring between Vernon Circle and London Circuit has been designated for buildings of national significance. It is land under the control of the federal government. As we all know in this place-and this is one of the dilemmas-there are two plans that govern the territory, one of which is the National Capital Plan, which has primacy over our own.

I was speaking with Mr Humphries earlier today about this issue. He tells me that he moved a motion or that there was a motion in the Assembly in about 1996 calling on the establishment of one territory plan. That is something I have also put forward. Yet every time we suggest there be only one plan Mr Corbell says, "How dare you undo that." Clearly, there is disagreement on the other side about how we advance these issues. This side has always said that we would like to see one plan. Except for the national capital areas-possibly the parliamentary triangle and a few other areas-we should be in control of the territory.

The last part of your question was about what agreements were in place that saw the return of unused Commonwealth assets or land. I have a recollection that some deal was struck at the time of self-government that when the Commonwealth no longer needed such assets they were to be returned to the ACT. I have asked my department to track that down for me. I understand that the former Chief Minister wrote to the Commonwealth and they wrote back and said that that was not their understanding of the argument. But it is an argument certainly worth having.

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