Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4442 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
expediting is an unacceptable delay in the provision of these facilities. Not one brick has been laid. Not one foundation has been dug for aged care facilities in Canberra since this Labor government came to office.
However, it is strange that, although they profess to have this commitment to looking after this vulnerable section of our community, they do not do much to encourage it. I have put out a statement about this, and indeed I asked yesterday in my original question why, in an attempt to encourage more development of aged care facilities, you do not offer the same concessions to developers that you offered the developers in the city west project. I still have had no answer to that question. I can only assume, therefore, that the minister-let's be fair to him-is as keen as I am to see these facilities but they are somewhere held up in the planning process.
Minister, you are the Minister for Planning; make the planning process free. Have we gone so far in the restructuring that the minister is so far removed from planning that the planning department is a law unto itself and is in a position to ignore the requests and, I would like to think, entreaties of the minister about the provision of the aged care facilities that we need so much? I do not know, but it does seem to me that a very important log jam has been created either by the minister, the minister's office or the planning process itself.
I am appealing to you, Mr Corbell-even in his absence. The state of the planning system in the ACT, as far as aged care facilities are concerned, is appalling and disgraceful. If the government has any sense of decency, it will act quickly to overcome the problem and free much needed accommodation for this city's most vulnerable.
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (4.37): It is the stereotypical role of oppositions to raise these MPIs and to raise them in the fashion in which it has been raised today, and who better to do it than Mrs Dunne. It is a normal process and we accept that we will have this political argy-bargy. I am still surprised, from time to time, by the hyperbole that we do get from the other side.
I have to say to Mr Cornwell that I did enjoy his 10 minutes of dissertation on aged care. What that had to do with the real topic or the assault on Mr Corbell, I am not quite sure. Nevertheless, I appreciate Mr Cornwell's concern regarding aged care and his concern about self-funded retirees. I am waiting for him to declare a conflict of interest soon in relation to those topics.
I think it is fair to say that the role of planning minister is probably the most difficult role in this place, although health is also a difficult portfolio. Mr Corbell made the very valid point that no plan is perfect. I would add to that that no plan is going to please everybody.
In carrying out this difficult role, Mr Corbell is to be congratulated. He has shown considerable courage in this place in the pursuit of reform. He has attempted to improve community consultation. We all know how difficult it is to actually consult with the community, to make sure that the people we meet, who do give of their time and become involved in issues, remain representative of the community. It is always a difficult