Page 2798 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.14): I thank Mr Gentleman for raising this issue today. Perhaps just very quickly in rebuttal of some of the comments that Dr Foskey made, she criticised the government for not listening to consultation, but then has the gall to say that the government needs to work harder on its sustainability measures in the budget. Well, where was Dr Foskey’s submission on those proposals? When the Treasurer wrote to every single member in this place and said, “Tell us what you think is the best possible way of reporting on sustainability in triple bottom line accounting in the budget papers?” where was Dr Foskey’s submission? She did not make one. She is very happy to criticise failure, but is not prepared to engage in a constructive dialogue. She cannot have it both ways.

The other issue that of course needs to be raised is Dr Foskey’s misrepresentation of the population issues in the Canberra plan. The Canberra plan does not set a population target. It does not say, “By X date we will achieve X level of population.” What the Canberra plan says is that there are a range of growth scenarios in terms of our population, from a very low growth scenario to a very high growth scenario, and it is prudent and appropriate planning to take all those into account in choosing and making decisions about the future urban form, the future economic base, the future social base of our community. I am sure Dr Foskey would criticise the government if we failed to take those issues into account. So that is a misrepresentation on her part.

The issues I want to raise today relate primarily to the spatial plan, which is a very important component of the Canberra plan. The Canberra plan is the first time any state or territory government has put together a comprehensive document that looks at social, economic and fiscal planning in terms of the future growth and development of an area. We have done that here in the city, and it is a very strong, powerful and compelling document. It is compelling because it is informing every element of government decision making around budget initiatives, around infrastructure development, around social service provision and around economic development activity. It is informing and driving that agenda. No more ad hoc decisions, no more, “That sounds good. We’ll give it a go.” It is driven by the philosophies, the policies and the objectives outlined in the plan. One of the key commitments Labor made before we came to office was to say, “No more ad hoc decision making. No more policy on the run. Have a framework. Have a policy. Have objectives. Work towards them. Stick to them. That is how you get the best possible outcomes.”

In the spatial plan a range of issues are, even now, being actioned. The first is issues around the urban footprint of Canberra. This government has said that development in Canberra and the region should not be beyond 15 kilometres of the city centre. We are putting in place policies to make that happen. We are working with New South Wales on developing a regional settlement strategy that reflects these principles so that journeys, energy use associated with journeys and sustainable patterns of development are built into the statutory planning frameworks both here in the ACT and in New South Wales.

An example of this is the work we are doing in the Molonglo Valley. Molonglo has been identified as urban suitable, a potential future urban development front for the city. The government has not just said that could be used and left it at that. We have moved ahead with the detailed planning work to show exactly how that can happen so that future governments, probably not this government, but future governments have the capacity to

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