Page 3218 - Week 10 - Thursday, 25 August 2005

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DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.14), in reply: In replying to the other speakers and closing the debate, I want to say that it is possibly a brave but I hope not futile exercise to put up a motion that I am quite sure the government, with its numbers, will vote against. Nonetheless, I think it is my role as a crossbencher—as, I guess, part of the opposition sometimes and part of the government support sometimes—to raise these issues and make sure they are talked about in the Assembly, majority government or not.

First of all, in responding to the other speakers, I thank you very much for your considered contributions to this debate because it is really important that we debate. I was very interested to hear the two versions of what happened in the planning and environment committee, or of the planning and environment committee’s conclusions, from two members. I did not hear from Ms Porter but I guess I can assume she concurs with Mr Gentleman. I emphasise the point made by Mr Seselja that the National Capital Authority could turn around tomorrow: the fact that there are now no territory controls to such a turnaround leaves the NCA and the community without certainty.

Mr Corbell spoke at some length about sustainability and accused me of being contradictory and hypocritical. Nowhere in the Green’s policies does it say that we support seven-storey developments around neighbourhood centres. That is what we are talking about here. Deakin happens to be relatively close to the city and it happens to be near a major road with all the different planning controls that apply to that. But basically, to the people who live there, it is a neighbourhood, it is a suburb and assumedly it is being treated like other neighbourhood centres.

I believe development in Deakin can be sustainable without being seven storeys high. I also believe there was the potential for the government and the community to reach a satisfactory compromise if we could have had agreement on the height. I believe the community would have been willing to go there—I think that was being said—even though there were really strong concerns about the change of use from a tourism sort of land use policy—entertainment, accommodation and leisure land use policy—to residential. It has not been proven that the Embassy Motel is not viable. That has been said there but I would like to see the hard evidence. That is a claim made by the proponents and conveniently used by both the government and Mr Gentleman to back up a decision. On the other hand, I believe ACTPLA itself was concerned about the lack of sites capable of commercial tourist accommodation which once lost are not easily replaced, especially at that site. That is the opportunity cost that is referred to later.

It being 45 minutes after the commencement of Assembly business, the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 77. Ordered that the time allotted to Assembly business be extended by 30 minutes.

DR FOSKEY: When we first started having conversations in the early 1990s the word “sustainability” started out as a very strong word with certain qualities attached to it. I believe it has become a sort of weasel word that can be pulled up and used by anyone who wants to justify a particular action. I believe that sustainability has become a tool of this government to justify, in this case, a development where we have no idea at all about its sustainability with regard even to the use of public transport. We are talking about what the proponents themselves say is the luxury upper end of the market. I do not know

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