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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 November 2005) . . Page.. 4444 ..

The committee’s final recommendation is in regard to the Canberra international arboretum and gardens. The committee recommends that the Chief Minister request the shaping the territory working group to assess the feasibility of incorporating the elements of the southern tablelands ecosystem park proposal in the Canberra international arboretum and gardens.

As committee chair, I would like to thank all of those involved in the consultation process, in particular the committee office and secretary, Hanna Jaireth.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: We appear to have lost power. We will suspend the sitting until the ringing of the bells.

Sitting suspended from 4.36 to 5.18 pm.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.18): I would like to make a few comments in relation to the report and the process. Firstly, I want to talk about the 87-page report. Mr Gentleman talked about the committee considering this issue since May this year. It seems odd to me that, suddenly, after no particular urgency, we first saw a draft of this 87-page report on Friday afternoon and it was rammed through at a special meeting today. The committee had to consider it in less than two working days, after several months of having had this draft variation before it. That is one of the concerns that I raised in the committee. I will come back to that after I have dealt with some of the more substantive parts of the committee report.

To the extent that I have had time to consider the report—and I have not had a chance to look at it in detail, but I certainly have had a look at the recommendations—a couple of concerns immediately came to mind. The first was in relation to some of the recommendations. To the extent that it is possible to consider such a lengthy report in any detail in the short time given, there are a couple of issues that I have with the recommendations, and I would like to talk about them.

I have a concern about recommendation 2—I think it is still recommendation 2; it was, in an earlier draft—about the redrawing of the boundaries of the suburb of Throsby. The committee recommended that ACTPLA review the boundaries of Throsby and redraw them back toward Horse Park Drive. It became clear, when we did our site visit, that this was an area that had been set aside for some time for residential use. For that reason, only limited, short-term pastoral leases were granted. This has obviously led to fewer incentives for lessees to develop the land, which is perhaps one of the reasons why it is seen to have more environmental value than it otherwise might have.

The concern is that, if we take that principle, every time that there is good, forward planning and you set aside some land for future residential, there is bound to be some increased environmental value of that land and, therefore, we are always going to find ourselves in a position where people want to turn it into a reserve. We need to find a balance between reserve and residential land use. The more we seek to artificially limit that—and that is what I see this as—the more there will be upward pressure on land prices. I have concerns about that. I have concerns, particularly for first homebuyers who are often buying in these greenfields areas, that that land will artificially be inflated in

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