Page 3463 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

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MR CORBELL: Mr Seselja asked me how could I argue that the claims are baseless, and he said that planning controls are forcing development over the border. I am making the point: walk outside this building today, look at the tower cranes, Mrs Dunne; look at the level of development.

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. We can all count the tower cranes. The point is that there is nothing in Mr Seselja’s question about people moving over the border. It was about the approval times at Amaroo school being four to five times longer and the fact that the—

MR SPEAKER: You might tell us what your point of order is.

Mrs Dunne: I am sorry, Mr Speaker. Mr Corbell has said that those claims are baseless. That is what the question is about. It is not about moving people over the border.

MR SPEAKER: Order! This is not a time for a speech, Mrs Dunne. As I heard Mr Seselja’s question, it related to planning controls.

Mrs Dunne: No, it did not.

MR SPEAKER: I would like Mr Seselja to repeat the question. It was clearly about planning controls. That was my understanding. I could be proven wrong.

MR CORBELL: Mr Seselja’s question is about how planning controls are having an impact on development activity, and where people choose to do their business. He cited Amaroo as an example, but there is a broader question. My response to Mr Seselja, as was my response in the paper the other day, is that you only have to go outside this place and look at the level of investment that is happening in this city right now. There is over half a billion dollars worth of construction activity currently happening in Civic, half a billion dollars worth of development activity currently happening in Civic. It is the single largest level of development in the city centre since self-government. Last time I looked, Civic is actually in the ACT; Civic is under the control of the ACT Planning and Land Authority for the most part. It is governed by ACT legislation, and development activity is occurring.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR CORBELL: But wait; there’s more! Go down to Tuggeranong town centre, where there are massive levels of development either happening right now or in the pipeline. Go to Woden. There is major refurbishment of tower buildings in Woden and there are new buildings going up in Woden. There are significant multimillion-dollar developments occurring there. This is not an environment where people are fleeing the territory because they cannot do development in this town. Yes, our planning system needs to improve. The government has embarked on a process to do that, but claims that people are fleeing this town, fleeing the controls and choosing to do business elsewhere are not backed up by the facts. Go outside this door, look at the development in the city and then make some reasoned judgments about what is and what is not happening in Canberra right now.

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