Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4004 ..



interest, about protecting the public interest, about responsibly administering the leasehold to the benefit of everyone in our community.


(12.22): Mr Speaker, for me this issue goes to the fairness of our rural leases system and it also goes to our system of planning in the ACT. I think the debate has got somewhat distracted by individual circumstances which draw our attention away from the bigger issues.

I would just like to respond to something that the minister said. The minister said that we should be focusing on this decision as it relates to the public interest overall and not to individuals, but the minister's own argument shows how this debate is actually focused on two individual leases. There are two lessees impacted by this decision, and to me this shows this is a piecemeal approach to dealing with rural leases across the ACT. Yes, minister, I do agree that this decision should not relate to individuals but to public interest overall and, hence, instead of dealing with two leases at a time we should be looking at the bigger overall picture.

I understand the reason government policy has changed regarding rural leases in the Molonglo Valley is that we will need the land for future urban development. However, when I checked my territory plan map this morning I found that this land was not zoned urban. In fact, I thought we were currently developing a spatial plan that was seeking to take into account broad community debate about the future land use of our city and surrounds.

Of course, we have not even seen a draft of that final plan yet. We have not heard the results of the community consultation on the spatial plan. I was under the impression that this idea was still just one option in the whole spectrum of discussions about future land use in the territory. I note that the government has adopted the same guidelines for the Molonglo Valley as it has for Gungahlin. However, the Gungahlin land is zoned residential whereas Molonglo is zoned rural.

There were other options put forward as part of the spatial plan discussions, including urban development in Kowen and west Murrumbidgee. However, these areas have had no changes to their rural lease policies. There were options that involved no new urban development outside existing areas. However, the minister has decided to change the rural lease policy that we are debating today despite the fact that, as a community, we may not wish to develop this land at all.

In fact, it has become increasingly clear that the minister has already decided that the ACT government will develop the lower Molonglo, despite the fact that we have not seen the final spatial plan. It appears that all these options and consultation processes may simply have been window dressing. It appears that the minister has already decided that he wants to develop this land and, hence, is changing land use policies to facilitate this. I think this demonstrates a lack of respect for the planning process and transparent decision-making. Why has there been so much bother put into consultation work when it is now going to be ignored?

There has been no change to the Territory Plan and this Assembly has not decided that this land will be developed in the future at all. So the argument that it needs to be protected for future use is dependent on a decision that has not yet been made.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .