Page 1336 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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urban open space. That is what Mr Corbell said and that is what I have said. I cannot wait for Mr Stefaniak to get up and say, “Minister, did you say that you were going to maintain all the urban open space?”—to which I will reply, “Yes, of course.”

The nature of the urban open space, the nature of the green space, is in response to what the community wants. If you want to have a look at what other uses may be applied to urban open space in terms of our policy, you can revisit the speeches from Mr Corbell. You can read each of them—indeed I challenge you to do so. I put it to you that there has been no change of plan. You have not stumbled across a cunning plan.

Mr Mulcahy: No. We just keep tripping over barren ovals!

MR HARGREAVES: I am sorry, but Blackadder’s offsider has not been at play. There is no cunning plan to change the urban open space in this town.

Sport and recreation—ovals

MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Planning. I refer to recent statements in the media, reported last week, regarding the potential sale of ovals in Canberra suburbs for development. Minister, will you rule out the sale of ovals for development during the term of this government?

MR CORBELL: Yes, I will. Further to that, it is probably worth highlighting the irony of the question. I can recall Mr Stefaniak’s department, when he was Minister for Education, having a lot of interest in the sale of all sorts of government assets, including ovals. I think Manuka swimming pool was in there for a while. It was only when that was highlighted—

Mr Stefaniak: Guess what, Simon? I ruled it out, too.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Stefaniak!

MR CORBELL: They asked for it, Mr Speaker; they really did. They walked into that one.

Those issues were highlighted by the then Labor opposition, and followed very significant public opposition to your audit of urban open space. Remember some of the comments that came with that audit of urban open space—“a great block”, “well-elevated”, “360-degree views”. I remember that one distinctly. “360-degree views” was the way one public park in Fisher was described by the previous government. You do not talk about parks having wonderful views unless you want to realise on the asset. That is exactly what that government was on about. Mr Smyth, as planning minister; Mr Stefaniak, as education minister; Mr Humphries, as Treasurer—they were all on about identifying those areas for sale.

In contrast, this government has moved to give better protection to Canberra’s urban open spaces. What we have done—and it is out right now for public comment—is develop a variation to the territory plan that provides additional protections for urban open space in the ACT. That variation also involves, for the first time, identifying that

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