Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 283 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
The expression of interest shown when the Hungarian Club advertised-which on 10 December 2002 the minister stated on radio was not a serious expression of interest-to my knowledge, involved refurbishment of the existing club and surrounds, maintenance of the primary school oval, benefits to all existing members of the Hungarian Club and allowance for the Hungarian Club to continue to use the facilities. If this does not constitute a serious interest, I wonder what would.
Following this declaration, the government argued that because the existing lease was still in effect at present there were no impediments to another club trying to purchase the lease from the Hungarian Club. Does the government really believe this? Do they seriously think the Hungarian Club would pay any interest to negotiating with another club when they would soon be able to sell the lease for a lot more money to a developer?
For anyone considering making an offer to continue a club-type facility on the site, doubt must have been cast on the government's comments that it did not believe club facilities were an appropriate use for the site, pre-empting two relevant studies, as I have said. Why? I would very much like to hear an explanation from the minister. It might go some way to addressing the suspicions in the community that some kind of deal has been done.
The Labor government had a strong stance on the Hungarian Club lease prior to coming into office: they did not support the changing of the lease to residential. Yet that is exactly what they are now trying to have approved. This change of heart, which I fear my Liberal colleague may support but I hope do not support, will not provide any real benefits to the community of Narrabundah. In fact, it amounts to taking away a potentially significant asset from the community.
Many members in the community are extremely concerned to know how this Assembly works, particularly in its committees. Once again, as we saw under previous governments, a body of work has been done, the community has put in a lot of work, conclusions have been reached and recommendations have been made, but the whole thing has been ignored.
There were also serious concerns about the preliminary assessment put up by the developer. The community was not satisfied with it. It is serious if the Legislative Assembly's committees are seen to be treated with such disregard by the government of the day. If people lose confidence in the committee system, then they will not come and talk to the committees. The cynicism that already exists in the community, not just about committees but about politicians and the Legislative Assembly, will increase.
As a sweetener, the government has said that this development will have compulsory adaptable housing in it. That is very nice but it is pretty insulting that the government suddenly has the capacity to mandate adaptable housing development for this development, when I have been asking for this to happen for such a long time, as have many other people. It is important and it has to happen, but that is not an excuse to justify the process I am outlining or to justify the decision to change the use of this land.