Page 1204 - Week 04 - Thursday, 17 March 2005
they take the benefits of the federal government’s economic management, whilst they reap the GST windfalls they have had for the last three years, whilst they spend as fast as they earn, take the credit. They say, “It is down to us.” But as soon as it looks like there will be some doom and gloom, as soon as things get a bit hard and the results are a spend-it-as-quick-as-we-get-it approach, they say, “It could not be our fault; it is nothing to do with us.” I would like to suggest that it is the ACT government’s fault.
One of the major contributing factors and the problems the ACT economy is going to face is the planning system we have that Mr Corbell is responsible for—the red tape, the holds-up with the approval process—despite the best efforts of Mr Corbell to preside over a planning system which has been described as one of the worst, if not the worst, in Australia. The line-up of ALP figures and others criticising their own mates in this government for their handling of the ACT planning system and the flow impact on the ACT economy is becoming lengthier.
Less than one month ago, we had the former Labor Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Jim Soorley, incidentally also a member of the LDA board, being scathing about the state of the ACT planning system. He went as far as to say that mandatory regulations were more akin to the Industrial Revolution. Is this the climate that we expect vibrant, modern businesses, looking to spend dollars on property and investment in this city, to come to? Do we expect large corporations or cashed-up businesses, modern progressive organisations, to come to a city with planning regulations that are akin to the Industrial Revolution? Mr Corbell, through the planning system, has had a direct impact on the ACT economy. His Labor mates tell us that.
We might normally expect that Mr Corbell would be supported by a body such as the CFMEU or that the CFMEU would not want to give their Labor mates too much of a kick. The Canberra Times of 7 October 2003 showed us just what the CFMEU and other bodies thought of the Stanhope government’s approach, reporting:
We have been frustrated to the nth degree … George Wasson said.
That is what the secretary of the CFMEU had to say—an affiliate of the ALP, he was described as, and he highlighted the frustrations, the delays and the obstructions to his organisations looking to invest millions of dollars in our city.
Mr Wasson even went as far as to write to Mr Corbell about the concerns he had back in November 2002. Maybe Mr Corbell could come in for the adjournment debate today and read that letter to us. Mr Wasson was telling the minister why he was not prepared to waste his time investing in the ACT. I will let the Assembly know some of the pertinent points that Mr Wasson made, because I am sure that is one letter Mr Corbell will not be prepared to read out. I think the list of letters he would like to read out is shrinking. He is having to get Labor staffers do it for him. Even his mates in the union movement, he does not want to read their letters.
George Wasson described the planning system as a disgrace and described as outrageous the fact that members of the construction and building industry’s superannuation fund, which Mr Wasson was representing, were hesitant to invest large slabs of money in the ACT. Is it any wonder that there might be a downturn in investment in the ACT? Is it