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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3311 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

This government is saying it does not think that is the case. Environmental considerations may change. Ecological considerations may change and planning considerations may change, which may result in a reduction of the land supply. That is why the government is signalling this issue.

Mr Dunne: This is real pie-in-the-sky stuff.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Dunne, I asked you to come to order several times yesterday and several times today. I call on you now to desist. Mr Stefaniak asked the question. He is entitled to be able to hear the answer.

MR CORBELL: The areas of land that are of concern, as I have indicated, are areas of land generally in the north Gungahlin area. The north Gungahlin area is currently an area of undeveloped land, which has a very high level of yellow box/red gum grassy woodland community situated within it of varying degrees of ecological quality: very high, high, medium, low, and so on. If our community starts making decisions and saying, "We believe this ecological community is so rare that we have to shift the basis on which we decide which areas should and should not be protected," that will inevitably have consequences for the availability of residential land.

That is what this government is saying. We are not running away and hiding from the issue. In fact, we want to be upfront about the issue. We want to be on the front foot about it and say it is an issue that the government is aware of and the community needs to think about too.

Ecological concerns are important but, equally, impacts on residential land supply are important, and we need to take account of social and economic as well as environmental issues when we make judgments about these matters. That is what this government is saying and it is for the same reason we will continue to say it. We believe it is an issue of significant importance to the community.


MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Chief Minister. In a keynote address that launched the Labor Party's 2001 election campaign, the Chief Minister said that members of this place should not become "ensconced in ivory tower isolation in Civic". What is the government doing to ensure its members are accessible to all Canberrans?

MR STANHOPE: We certainly have not become ensconced in ivory tower isolation. This is the most successful of governments and is acknowledged as such and always has been.

We have set major new standards in consultation, accountability and our willingness and determination to listen to the people of Canberra. That is acknowledged by the community. There is none of the false consultation or listening that the other side did in government.

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