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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3375 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

alignment which is shorter, more direct and less destructive than the proposal put forward by the government today. I commend my motion to the Assembly.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (3.55): Mr Speaker, I think Mr Corbell has aptly described the nature of his motion. As is required by the approach we use in the Assembly, he has made a case as to why this variation should be disallowed.

I would like to go back to the history of this process, Mr Speaker, because I hear people constantly saying, "Why are we rushing this process? Why are we pushing ahead with it?" I remember being involved with and putting in a submission to the Gungahlin External Transport Study, which must have been in the mid to late 1980s. So it is simply not true for people to suggest that this variation has been rushed in some way or that there has been inadequate consultation. The consultation may not have gone the way the people wanted or they may think it missed a point that they wanted to make. I think that each and every member here has put in a huge amount of time and effort to ensure that they are informed very carefully on the issues, perhaps more so than on almost any other issue.

Mr Speaker, it is important for us to understand that this decision should be made on factual grounds, not on emotive issues, and I heard Mr Corbell arguing on rational rather than emotive grounds. We ought not make a decision like this on the grounds of cacophony, or on who or which group happens to speak loudest at any particular time. We do not make these decisions on the basis of a cacophonometer reading. It seems to me, therefore, that we should look at the list of factors that support the motion.

I think they can be summed up in terms of the protection of the Bruce and O'Connor Ridge area. That is the essence of the argument that Mr Corbell put. I do not think I need to elaborate on those factors because we have heard them carefully put. We have not heard the arguments on the other side so carefully put, although I heard Mr Osborne on radio this morning putting them in a fairly succinct fashion. We heard about the protection of the grasslands. We heard of the interests of the people of Kaleen, who, although they have not been as active or as vociferous as the people of O'Connor, certainly have an interest, and members must take that interest into account.

There is another interesting argument that I had not heard until recently. In fact an ex-planner from NCDC put it to me. It is that the protection of O'Connor Ridge would be served best by having a hard edge to O'Connor Ridge, and he was advocating the eastern route. The reason why the hard edge is important, he argued, is that if the Bruce precinct is allowed to sit next to O'Connor Ridge as it does at the moment, with a major road on the other side, the pressure over the next 20, 30 or 50 years would be for that precinct to expand into the O'Connor Ridge, and it is far more important for it to have a hard edge.

That is the thrust of the general arguments that have been put and that I have considered. There are many more arguments, Mr Speaker. Recently we have been hearing about the protection of echidnas. The wildlife argument has been put on many occasions.

There is also the argument that Mr Corbell put here-that the government has a deeper agenda about making more money through sales of land, or something along those lines. That may be the case. I am not aware of a deeper agenda. Conspiracy theories always

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