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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 258 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, you would be aware that the new workers compensation scheme is scheduled to begin on 1 July next year. Although the last Assembly agreed to the new compensation legislation, there is a range of important work and supporting material that needs to be developed prior to the scheduled commencement date.

In line with other initiatives already foreshadowed, the government wishes to encourage the provision of parental leave conditions, including leave for workers with family responsibilities and bereavement leave for employees not covered by awards and agreements.

Mr Speaker, this government has a strong commitment to equity, participation and strategic planning in education, planning and industrial relations policy. I have outlined the new Labor government's immediate priorities in implementing our program in these central areas. I look forward to working with all members in its implementation.

I present the following paper:

Future Directions-Education, Planning and Industrial Relations-Ministerial Statement, 13 December 2001.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MRS DUNNE (4.51): I would like to touch on some of the issues raised by the minister in his statement, particularly those pertaining to planning, but I might take the liberty of venturing a bit wider. No-one denies the new government the right to implement its policies, but I would like to sound a note of caution. It is the government's right to do this, but I think they should be doing it in a way that we can be sure is workable.

I am a little uncomfortable about the sentence "No aspect of long-term planning direction will be left untouched". I hope that does not mean the dead hand of government intervention will be on everything in this town so that economic activity and social activity dry up completely. That is a word of warning. The dead hand of regulation usually manages to stifle things.

On the subject of planning, as the newly appointed chair of the Planning and Environment Committee, I welcome the opportunity to participate in a very open and consultative way. I have an open mind on a great range of these issues, and I welcome the opportunity. I give an undertaking to the minister that I will meet his request that committees think strategically. I welcome the opportunity to do so. We have a lot to contribute to the development of our community, but we need to take as much of the community with us as possible.

Touching on the statutory planning authority, I go back to the point I made that it is the government's prerogative to implement its policy. However, I sound another note of warning. Those on this side have reservations about putting the tasks of land planning and land allocation into one area. We have found over the years that there are useful checks and balances by having those separated. That is something I would encourage the minister to look at again.

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