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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 291 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

We believe that the development proposed by the government will benefit the whole community in the long term. With that, the opposition will not be supporting the disallowance motion.

MRS CROSS (11.30): I have listened carefully to the debate, and I am not completely satisfied that the conduct of all the stakeholders in this matter has been above board and consistent with principles of accountability and transparency. For the Assembly to contemplate a draft variation in this context, I believe, is inappropriate.

Mr Speaker, the conversion of public land to private use is a serious issue. It is in effect a process of privatisation of public land. That is not to say that there are not times when it is appropriate for public land to become private, but we must always look at these moves with a high level of scepticism.

The value of community land goes up as the market value around it increases. That means that in areas where there has been a huge increase in land values community land is frequently going to come under pressure to be privately developed. I have some personal experience with this in relation to the Callam Street realignment in Woden.

This is one of those times when the question about public land becoming private is significant. I believe the government may very well rue the day on this Hungarian Club issue. I understand that they inherited this issue from the previous government. I sincerely hope that the deconcessionalisation of this club lease does not reflect the adoption by the Labor government of the Liberals' policy and less than flattering performance with Callam Street.

I will be supporting this disallowance motion by Ms Tucker, because to do so will allow us to revisit this issue under the five-day sitting rule for disallowance motions.

MS TUCKER (11.31), in reply: I am very concerned about this debate this morning. The Liberals in opposition are supposedly taking a stronger position on the process, integrity and probity of the Legislative Assembly. That seems to have gone by the wayside.

I am particularly concerned about the government. It made clear election commitments that it has gone back on them. Everything that Mr Corbell has said he knew before Labor made their election promises. Nothing has changed. We still have the fundamental problem of a total backflip on an election commitment which has justifiably upset people in the community who voted for Labor, particularly because of its position on this matter.

I did not get answers to the questions I asked. I did not get answers about how much the government knows about the interest that was shown in taking over this club. The government needs to be able to tell this place exactly what the interest was. I have been told that community organisations, not just Easts, were interested and that those organisations were told that the lease had been sold. If that is the case, that is very serious.

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