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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1086 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

This Assembly is not convinced that the minister is doing the right thing with the consultation process. We would like to see the creation of a community panel so that it can advise this Assembly. The minister's use of his call-in powers in the past has been highly suspect. We have voiced our concern on a number of occasions in the past about giving the minister such unfettered powers, without any appeal. This just heightens my cause for concern.

To use Mrs Burke's phrase, if we are to be transparent, accountable and consultative, and if all of this needs to be explained, then put it to the community, the stakeholders, the people who live in the area, the developers and the people with expertise in planning and have them come back and tell us. If the government opposes that process, I would like to hear the minister stand up in this place and tell us why he is afraid of the consultation process. What is he afraid of in putting it out there and having this Assembly receive advice. Clearly he is afraid of the process, unless he stands up here and supports this motion. I look forward to Mrs Burke's support for the referral to the community panel.

MR KAINE (8.25): There are times when I wonder what rules this government works to. I received this draft variation in my office on 27 March, yesterday. It is a very significant document. I received it, interestingly enough, with a covering letter signed by an officer of Planning and Land Management Group dated 29 March, so it is quite clear that the original intention was to circulate this next Friday, the day after it is put into "interim" effect.

Since I received it together with yet another covering letter signed by the minister, also dated the 27th and received in my office on the same day, I can only conclude that that occurred because it suddenly occurred to somebody that we were putting it into effect a day before the document was going to be circulated to members of this place for their interest. Somebody thought, "Whoops, we had better whip it out quickly and get it into the hands of the members before it takes effect, namely, today."

The thing that concerns me is that the covering letter from the minister says that it is in the interests of all members to receive a full briefing. I would have thought they would have offered us the full briefing some weeks ago, if this is to take effect in any fashion from today, but no. The thing is dropped on our desks and we are told that it is going to be put into effect immediately.

The covering letter from Planning and Land Management Group also says that comments on this draft variation should be submitted by Monday, 14 May. So the government is putting it into effect two months before the closing date for comments on it. What on earth is the point of that? Surely, you do your community consultation before you put it into effect, not afterwards. This government talks about community consultation!

Mrs Burke spoke at length about the demographics. I do not think any of us needed to be lectured to about the demographics. Most of us have been around for a long time and we know what the demographics are. We are also well aware that the demographics change. But change in the demographics is no justification for making some of the changes that are proposed in this variation. Changes in the demographics, according to Mrs Burke,

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