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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1309 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

ecological site where the understorey has lost all ecological value or connectivity. We could stand here and argue around what is an appropriate buffer in those circumstances. My advice is that an appropriate buffer is 21.5 metres, as we have proposed, and I do not think anybody can argue against that.

Mr Smyth: You did. The Labor Party did last time.

MR STANHOPE: We have not had this debate before. It is not a debate that we have had before. This is the first time that we have had this debate. We did not argue against anything else because we have not debated this before.

Mr Smyth: It is important that the site be protected from development; Simon said so.

MR STANHOPE: We are doing that. We are protecting the site with a buffer of 21.5 metres and the park is also to be fenced along the western edge with a rural-type fence to control other impacts.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, given that the area is not a recognised endangered woodland or a grassland ecological community, the road provides a suitable form of buffer between the park and the north Watson residential estate. There is no justification for an extension.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (9.22): Mr Speaker, I have to say, as the former minister for planning, minister for housing and minister for the environment, that it has been interesting to sit here and listen to the reversal of positions. We have a Labor Party, led by Jon Stanhope whose members said anything they had to say to get into government and will do anything they want when they are there. That is the galling bit about this debate tonight.

What you have to admire in Ms Tucker is her consistency. The Liberal Party and the Greens probably will not agree on a whole lot of things over time-I think we are doing better and better as the years progress-but we have always maintained our positions and we have always put clear cases on what we believe should happen and when and where it should happen, unlike the Labor Party. Perhaps Minister Corbell has been sent from the chamber to places different so that he could not sit here tonight and listen to this debate or argue against it.

It is really interesting that in the debate in 2001 Mr Corbell spoke about a key factor in the Labor Party's consideration of the issue being the protection of the woodland component of the site. He went on to say:

I must very clearly state that it was a decision of a former Labor government to originally designate this site for residential development. But as new information comes to light and new factors come into being, it is appropriate to reconsider those issues, and that is what all of my colleagues-

I assume by that he included Mr Stanhope-

and I have been doing in the past 12 months.

You might have been there for the discussion, Mr Speaker. The speech continued:

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