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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 423 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

From day one, from my time as planning minister, planning has been underresourced. If you look back at what the National Capital Development Commission could do all those years ago-the extensive and very sound documents they put out, the consideration they were able to give to their planning proposals, to work them through, to see that they were carefully developed-you will see that from day one our resources have not been able to match up to that and probably never will.

Mr Corbell: We put in additional resources-$950,000.

MR WOOD: Yes, there is more money, but I do not think that we will ever match what the NCDC had in terms of those resources, because they could really turn it out, but it is important that we resource the planning authority with a large number of highly competent people to support those who are already there. I am most impressed with the quality of the people we do have, but I imagine-Mr Corbell is closer to it than I-that they are pretty well stretched to do all that has to be done. I think the future for planning and for land development in this territory only looks good, and the territory will find in the next three or four years that that is so.

MR SMYTH (4.36): I am not sure that there is a whole lot of time left for the debate. Mr Wood should have filibustered a little longer. There are some important points to put on the table. Mr Wood is a little bit forgetful in that the Labor Party flooded the market when they controlled the land release program from 1991 through to 1995, doing so to such an extent that no stocks were released between 1995 and 1997.

MR SPEAKER: Order! It being 4.37 pm, the time for this debate has expired.

Local and regional news services

Debate resumed.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (4.37): Mr Speaker, some months ago the government expressed its strong disappointment at the sudden closure of the Ten Capital newsroom. On hearing of the closure in November last year, the government was dismayed that Canberra was losing a second commercial television newsroom within six months of the closure of Prime's local news service in June. Not only were 27 workers and their families affected by the Ten Capital closure but the broader community has suffered because it has lost another vital part of its communications network.

Canberra is the national capital with a population of 314,000, yet two of our three commercial stations cannot or will not maintain a local news presence. Local news services keep the Canberra community vibrant and informed. A news service from Sydney does not satisfy our community's need for local information. Canberra is not a suburb of Sydney, and we need the diversity of television news which reflects the complex make-up of our community.

These closures are a disappointing indication of the lack of support by these television stations to the people of Canberra. Excuses provided at the time of closure about the cost of upgrading to digital technology just do not wash. The Commonwealth government has provided significant subsidies to help commercial stations upgrade.

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