Page 3208 - Week 10 - Thursday, 25 August 2005

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that this government is a bad government but I think that, as the years go by, an increasing number of people are becoming disillusioned with the notion of partnership, the building our community idea, that has been a feature of this government’s rhetoric.

The surprise and dislocation felt by parents and children about the Ginninderra high closure are a case in point. Many of those people may in the end enjoy better education and activities than the existing set-up can give them, but it is proving very hard for them to accept the offer and get down to negotiating a good deal when they feel so shocked and disempowered by the timing and the nature of the announcement.

We have seen the ACT government ignore the bulk of expert community feedback, which, by the way, it sought, to proceed with a human rights commission that is more than a model of convenience. Similarly, for those people who are engaged in the physical shaping of our community, the sense of frustration has grown over the past few years. There are many such people in Canberra and we should appreciate the profound value of the unpaid work that so many of them do.

They have seen the end of local involvement in planning matters through LAPACs, they have watched the government seemingly abandon its commitment to neighbourhood planning, they have seen the contentious core area development fail to deliver viable local centres and sustainable communities—rather in some cases promising the reverse—and the notion of high-quality sustainable design seems to have fallen into a netherworld of something better later on. We have also seen the government hand over a massive slice of Civic West to the ANU without ensuring a good return to the people of Canberra.

Mr Corbell: I take a point of order on relevance, Mr Speaker. This disallowance motion is in relation to a variation to the territory plan, variation No 237. So far, Dr Foskey has yet to mention that in any of her statements and she has been going for a number of minutes. I would ask you to draw her to order.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, I think the reference to relevance is a good point. Remain relevant, Dr Foskey.

DR FOSKEY: I am setting the scene here, providing a context. I have almost got there. I will try this and see whether Mr Corbell thinks that it is irrelevant, too: now, the extraordinarily opaque planning review documents suggest, on close examination, that the revamped system will be more bluntly biased in favour of development interests, presumably—

Mr Corbell: I take another point of order, Mr Speaker. Dr Foskey is attempting to turn this debate into a broader one about planning policy in the ACT. I am very happy to debate a broader planning policy if such a substantive motion is put before the Assembly, but the motion before us is in relation to disallowance of variation 237 to the territory plan and Dr Foskey really should do the Assembly the courtesy of addressing the substantive matters which she has sought to raise in the Assembly this morning.

DR FOSKEY: Thank you for that, Mr Corbell. I understand; point taken.

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