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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 436 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

We know that there is always the very important responsibility on government or any organisation to ensure that there is never a perception of bias; that in fact people are really clear in their decision-making to show that there is no bias. That is about the perception of bias as applies in the public sector management guidelines, and it would apply, I would have thought, to any corporation, and certainly one that is under the control of the minister and the ACT government.

This is just an opportunity to make sure that everyone can be confident that this was a good decision. It is also an opportunity for the government to show that they are indeed very open and transparent.

MR CORBELL (5.50): Mr Speaker, I will be brief. The point I would like to make is that not only is this motion important in the context of the issues Ms Tucker has raised with us this afternoon, but also there are some important planning implications that should not be missed in examining the decision-making of CTEC.

The Tourism and Events Corporation is not an insignificant employer. It certainly is not the largest of any of the ACT government agencies or departments by far, but it is not the smallest either. When we are looking at possible alternative locations for ACT government agencies, I certainly am curious to learn exactly why they thought the airport was a more appropriate location than trying to support the decentralised town planning policy that we have for this city and why they decided that they would not be prepared to go to Woden or, heaven forbid, Tuggeranong, or Gungahlin, where there is a desperate need for greater employment location.

I think those are reasonable questions, and the release of these documents would assist us in understanding exactly why those sites were overlooked.

MR QUINLAN (5.51): I have to say that the letting of a building in Brindabella Park to CTEC must attract some scrutiny, particularly in this new era of openness and accountability. In many ways this is a small town with overlapping responsibilities and there is overlapping influence within the town. I also hasten to say that there are many individuals in this town who give of their time and make a massive contribution to the town without necessarily receiving significant direct reward from it, and I recognise that; but, as I said, in many ways it is a small town, and when we have an event like this where there are overlapping interests we certainly do need to subject this decision to the maximum of openness and accountability.

I want to refer to the recent proposed sales of Commonwealth land within the ACT, in Civic, in Barton, and the police complex in Weston. These sales of land and developments are out of the control of the ACT. When the subject arose last week I thought the common sentiment of this house was a concern about the lack of control over planning in the ACT. The Commonwealth could have a very significant impact on the market for commercial space in this town without any reference to this government. Brindabella Park, which is considered Commonwealth land and is outside the planning controls of the ACT, is a similar case.

Now, as a function of this particular deal, we see a government agency supporting and compounding that particular problem. I thought government members at least were nodding and indicating that they would be talking to the Commonwealth and sorting out

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