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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3613 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

In contrast, the Labor Party has a lot to do with alarming, unsettling and misleading residents in some South Canberra suburbs and has glibly claimed that they will search for another site. At the same time as they are saying they will find another site, they are saying they will deliver on the government's 2004 timetable. Impossible. The basic facts of our planning laws, our political process and the needs of good public consultation make this impossible.

Here are the details. Let us assume that a government directs that the current site be abandoned and a new one identified by the planning department. Step one is to confirm the criteria for the site and identify any sites that meet these criteria. In 1998 that took 10 weeks. Let us say the task takes only six weeks. Step two would be a feasibility study process. We are advised that, on experience, a minimum of eight to 12 weeks would be needed to do this completely.

Step three is the big one. Step three is public consultation through the Assembly. As this government did in 1999, the Assembly committee would need to conduct independent scrutiny and give the public the opportunity for independent review. Based on the experience in 1999, we are looking at between six and nine months. It is a slow process, but I do not think any MLA here would decide that they wanted to bypass it. The government certainly would not. So far we are up to at least 40 and perhaps up to 60 weeks.

Step four, assuming a new site is selected, is to conduct a formal preliminary assessment for the planning law. Obviously, there could be no skipping this step. As there would be a major contract for professional services, a tender would be needed-that is, eight weeks-followed by an estimated 16 weeks of professional work, followed by an evaluation by the planning department of a minimum of six weeks, realistically estimated at up to 12, including all the additional procedures. We are talking about perhaps another 36 weeks. Assuming everything goes well and that every stage proceeds in sequence, the grand total is between 76 and 96 weeks-nearly two years.

Labor's policy means that two years after abandoning the Symonston site they will have reached the same point as we are almost at now and they will still have a site with some form of opposition, because any site will have local opposition. And they will be getting close to an election. If after the coming election they are in government, do not think the people then opposite will not use the same tactics as they are using.

We have already considered the alternative site problem.

Mr Hargreaves: No, you haven't.

MR MOORE: So did you in your committee. The only credible sites that meet criteria in the same way-

Mr Corbell: We will name it after you if you like, Michael.

Mrs Burke: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am having great difficulty hearing the minister's answer with the continual interruptions from the other side.

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