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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 416 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Finally, I turn to Mrs Dunne's very unfair and very misleading comment about a remark I made at the Gungahlin Community Council meeting a week ago that PALM believes what I believe. Mrs Dunne failed to mention that about 10 or 15 minutes after I had made that comment, I stood up again in front of that meeting and said, "I am sure that everyone in this meeting understands that that was a tongue-in-cheek comment," and everyone laughed. I do not know whether Mrs Dunne laughed, but everyone else laughed. They understood what I was trying to say.

What I was trying to say and what I made clear at that meeting was that PALM, when it came to making a presentation on light rail, would have made a presentation on the government's policy in relation to light rail. I am the minister responsible for that area. I was there at that meeting and I gave that presentation and outlined the government's position. But the people opposite do not seem to understand that. It is true that, under the existing arrangements, PALM is responsible to the minister and PALM is responsible for implementing government policy. That is, in fact, the arrangement that we are seeking to clarify through the establishment of an authority. Clearly, Mrs Dunne, apart from anything else, does not have a sense of humour. She has, in fact, sought deliberately to misrepresent my comments in an attempt to strengthen her argument, an argument which is very weak.

MR SPEAKER: The minister's time has expired.

MS DUNDAS (4.07): The Democrats believe in careful and considered planning for Canberra, not the seemingly arbitrary decisions that often go through this place. I would like to see a planning process that creates certainty for both the community and business and that involves genuine consultation and community input. The Democrats also believe that the planning process should consider social and environmental values as well as economic ones and should establish planning as a public sector responsibility for the public interest. We also believe that the ACT should have a planning system that is more transparent and accountable, and that our planning authority should be independent.

The present government so far has not lived up to its promise. After spending an election campaign talking extensively about community involvement, the minister has not been doing his best to involve the community and a number of community groups are currently feeling completely in the dark about the government's next move.

Whilst I understand that you have ruled this matter in order as a matter of public importance, Mr Speaker, I am not completely convinced that this matter, phrased in the way that Mrs Dunne has put it, is of real public importance. The matter has been deliberately phrased in a blatantly provocative manner and seems to be more about providing Mrs Dunne with an opportunity to take Mr Corbell to task in the chamber than about a sensible discussion of the real planning issues in Canberra.

It is true that Mr Corbell has not adequately involved the community in the area of planning and the environment. However, I am not sure that this is the best way to bring it to his attention. Whilst some important issues have been raised in this debate by both sides of the chamber, it is important that members not use the Assembly for petty bickering and arguing in such a way, but instead use their time in this place to move forward with the community.

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