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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 4201 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

I know Mrs Dunne is thinking, "Oh, shucks, damn, I really wanted the opportunity to get stuck into Simon Corbell again,"but, Mr Speaker, the bottom line is that the government conducted the sale in accordance with all due process. The sale was successfully negotiated. Those opposite might wish otherwise, but I have to report to them that is not the case.

MR CORNWELL: A supplementary question, please, Mr Speaker. Minister, why wasn't the appropriate work done before this sale went through and why did you give six excuses why there was a failure to complete the sale?

MR CORBELL: I didn't, Mr Speaker.

Student accommodation

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Planning. I refer to comments by Mr George Wason, a director of the Canberra Tradesmen's Union Club and damn fine second row forward, on the minister's failure to consider proposals to redevelop Tasman House in Civic to create 95 student apartments in a timely manner. Mr Wason said:

There are ridiculous conditions and requirements. Every time we went back we got another problem.

Given that there will be a critical shortage of student accommodation for the first semester of next year, why have you imposed what George Wason described as ridiculous conditions and requirements on this proposal?

MR CORBELL: Ridiculous requirements like bicycle parking for a student accommodation residence! Are they suggesting that it is an absurd requirement that there should be parking space for bicycles at student accommodation premises? That is one of the requirements of the planning authority in relation to that development. The issue with that development is that the development went through the standard process for assessing the development requirements and what specific design issues needed to be addressed-nothing more, nothing less. A range of issues was addressed, including overshadowing and the requirement for bicycle parking for student residents-issues that needed to be satisfactorily resolved.

That said, I think that there is a reasonable argument that there needs to be an improvement in the overall process and timeliness of the preapplication system. For that reason, the government has already indicated its intention to undertake significant reform of that system, as I have said publicly on a number of occasions already, to ensure that we do have a timely system which achieves a reasonable certainty of process and, at the same time, protects the broader community interest. That will be the approach that the government will be working to deliver. The system at the moment requires a range of issues to be addressed. I do not doubt for a moment that those issues need to be addressed. But there are some concerns around timeliness and they will be addressed by me as minister and by the planning authority.

MR STEFANIAK: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, why, then, is George Wason calling for you to be sacked as Planning Minister?

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