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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1661 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mr Deputy Speaker, this brief to the minister highlights many clear arguments for why the government should not proceed down a separate draft variation path for Kippax. In fact, it recommends that the minister agree to the continued preparation of a draft variation for the group centre's policy to incorporate all group centres in a draft variation to the Territory Plan. Yet the minister, whilst he agrees with this brief, appears to have decided at some later date to proceed with a separate draft variation for Kippax.

There is no doubt in my mind that this was a politically driven decision. The question this Assembly has to ask is why did the minister decide that he was going to favour a particular location when it came to varying the Territory Plan for a new supermarket at Kippax when the government was already proceeding with a generic draft variation for all group centres so that all group centres would be treated equally, fairly and consistently. Why did the minister choose to favour Kippax over all others? He got a brief that recommended he not do so and yet he did exactly that.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the conduct of the minister in relation to this draft variation is questionable, and in my view it is unacceptable. The government should have proceeded with a process that varied the land use policy for all group centres without favouring one centre or another. It should have done the work of properly justifying the expansion of various retail and land use policies in group centres prior to releasing such a draft variation. Unfortunately, the government favoured neither. The government did neither.

Mr Deputy Speaker, this is an important report. It tells the government to go back and do the work and bring this draft variation back to the Assembly. It does not favour splitting of the retail core at Kippax. It does not favour favourable treatment for Kippax over any other group centre. It favours a consistent approach, an accountable approach and a detailed approach. Unfortunately, this draft variation has not met any of those conditions. I commend the report to the Assembly.

MR RUGENDYKE (4.50): As my committee colleagues have outlined, there are major concerns about the way this committee was charged with looking at the issue of group centres generally and specifically the group centre at Kippax. It is quite outrageous, Mr Deputy Speaker, that two variations running parallel showed different land use policies for the same piece of dirt. The committee came to the conclusion very quickly that that was unacceptable and that we would ask that PALM not allow that to happen again.

It is quite clear that the Kippax area should have a pool and fitness gym, a community centre, a library and a health facility, and these are the juggling acts that we were asked to deal with. We all note that the pool at Kippax has been allowed to run down. That came out in evidence. We note that WorkCover have closed the pool pending serious upgrades to safety and facilities within that complex. Why do you suppose that the pool was allowed to run down? My cynical guess is the landlord allowed that to happen to enable her to use that as leverage to get the land use policy changed, and to allow a multi-million dollar retail facility to enable her to upgrade the facility. It is totally inappropriate, Mr Deputy Speaker.

In another committee inquiry running parallel to these two draft variations, variation 152, the proponent in this Kippax 163 proposal had a lawyer give evidence to the committee on variation 152 who suggested that the proper way for a proponent to change a land use

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