Page 1748 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005

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We are going to have uniform colours for our street furniture. Again, we have got the planning commissar coming down saying, “We can’t have any innovation. I will tell you what colour and what design the street furniture will be. And we will roll it out.”

Again, in a government that is running into a $91 million deficit or a $143 million financial turnaround year on year, we are going to spend $700,000 on new signs for Civic. Yes, signs are important. Making a city legible, as the planners would like to say, is important. Making the city accessible is important, but $700,000 on signs? I know that the officials like to call it signage but, Mr Speaker, you and I know it as street signs. They are things that say Alinga Street, Allara Street, City Walk—all of those things; they are signs. You can’t tart it up. It is $700,000 that really could be better spent.

What we have is concept after plan, after report, after project, after proposal. And all of us have failed in this; we have all done it in a segmented way. What we saw last week with the living city proposal was an integrated, holistic look at Civic. This minister was terrified by what he saw, but he was principally terrified because it showed him up as a planning commissar with no real ideas of his own.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.19): Mr Speaker, I am going to speak to the general gist of both the motion and the amendments. I think one of the wonderful things about living in Canberra is how passionate people are about planning. Of course, one of the most infuriating things about being in government is that we do have a community that insists on its right to object and to have a say. That is not that easy for governments.

This is an issue that I have been following for a couple of decades. I wrote my masters thesis about the politics of planning in Canberra. Because I submitted it in 1992, I did not really get to have much of a good look at self-government; I was really looking at the politics of planning under what used to be the NCDC, now the NCA. As you can understand, I might be a bit sceptical about any motions that elevate that particular body in terms of its interests for Canberra.

My concern about this motion is that I really think it is unnecessary. That is the bottom line. Because it is unnecessary I think the amendments are also are unnecessary. The motion does not go to resolving any of our significant or specific planning issues, including those around City Hill and the Canberra city centre.

I agree with the opposition—as I think Mr Corbell would also agree—that the Griffin legacy is a very interesting and useful document. I think that anything that goes back to the original Griffin plan and reminds us of the spirit that was behind that plan is valuable for us. However, I am very aware that Griffin gets resurrected over and over again for political purposes that he would probably have nothing to do with now.

We also need to remember that Griffin’s wife, Marion, may have been the main instigator in this instance. She certainly drew the plans and, from my reading, it is she that got him off his butt to get the plans in so that they actually could be considered for the competition. So let us not forget Marion.

Just before I go on: I do care about Civic. I have chosen to live near it so that I can ride my bike to it. I believe that it is very good to have the ability to live near whichever centre one chooses. I do support the ongoing maintenance and efforts to enliven the

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