Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 290 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
The government has presented the excuse that the club is run down, like many government-owned community facilities. This demonstrates a lack of foresight. That the current occupants appear to have intentionally neglected their facility is not an indication that other leaseholders will do so in the future. The multitude of uses for this type of zoning means it is unlikely that no-one can be found to utilise this lease.
The government claimed that no other club was willing to take over the lease, but numerous members of the community have disputed this claim. I understand that another club was extremely interested in purchasing the existing club and that the actions of the government in approving draft variation 174 prevented the sale from being completed.
The need to change blocks 2, 3, 14 and 15 to residential escapes me. The Committee on Planning and Environment, in its report No 4, stated that it was of the view that, given the variety of uses for land available under the terms of the entertainment, accommodation and leisure land use policy which currently covers blocks 14 and 15, it was difficult to support an argument based on the existing use of the site.
Further, the committee supported the view expressed that a significant change to land use policy should be justified. The committee regarded this proposed change, given its loss of amenity to the area, as significant and did not believe that it had been justified. The committee, therefore, did not support the proposed land use change.
In regard to blocks 14 and 15, the vacant community land-not blocks 2 and 3, the land the club is on-the committee asked for PALM to consult with the local community about the best use for this site. It is unfortunate that the government and PALM have rejected the recommendations by the committee of this Assembly and proceeded with changing these four blocks to residential.
The change in zoning has not been done with any strategic framework in mind. There has not been a community needs assessment to determine the best usage of land in Narrabundah. A suburb master plan laying out a vision for the future of Narrabundah has not been developed. There has been no adequate explanation to the community of the reasons for Labor's astonishing backflip on this issue.
A number of questions have been put to the government on what is going on with this variation to the Territory Plan, why the government have changed their mind and why they are not recognising the community's wishes about this land. Unfortunately, the minister did not properly address these questions today in his speech. We still do not know why this decision has been taken.
It appears that we have a government doing its best to please developers. If the people of Canberra thought that changing the government would stop inappropriate planning decisions, unfortunately they were wrong.
MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (11.29): Variation 174 started when I was the minister. We commenced the process because we believed it was the right thing to do at the time. There has been much debate on the issue since. Indeed, there are conflicting views and the two camps seem to be unable to come to a resolution. But that does not mean that as politicians we do not listen to both sides before we make our decision. I think we have attempted to listen.