Page 4445 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 22 November 2005

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value because of scarcity and because of an artificial creation of scarcity through wildlife corridors and other places.

I am not against protecting valuable land for the community. We do that pretty well in Canberra. We have to seek to find a balance, but redrawing boundaries that have been there for a long time and that have been set aside for residential land use would be a mistake. I counsel the government to not accept that recommendation. I do not think it is one that is well founded.

In recommendation 6—I believe it is now—the committee recommends that cat containment be mandatory in the proposed new suburbs of Kenny and Throsby. I opposed that one, on the same grounds as I opposed the legislation last week, which is that it is ill-thought-out legislation. The recommendation is along similar lines. It will, for all the reasons that I put to the Assembly last week, be counterproductive and not achieve any significant outcomes for the people of the territory. For the same reason as I opposed the cat containment legislation, I opposed recommendation 6.

In relation to the other recommendations, if I had had time to consider the report in more detail there may have been many more comments. This is where I want to go back to the process that we went through in this committee. Mr Gentleman said that the committee has been looking at this issue since May, and that is true. But the point is that, since we have been looking at it since May and have known all the time frames around that, there certainly has not been any rush to finalise the report. You would think, having looked at the issue for so long and producing what is a very lengthy draft report, an 87-page draft report—I do not remember our ever having a report that long, and I stand to be corrected on that, but it is probably one of the more significant reports that we have had over the past year from this committee—the question would be: why the rush?

I will take the Assembly through the process. On Friday afternoon we received a draft report. That is the first time that I had seen it. I do not know whether other committee members had seen it before. Why the sudden urgency to rush it through? If we are really concerned about getting this process right, if we are really concerned about the committee scrutinising this draft variation, why would we not take a bit of time to consider this 87-page report and have a debate about it? As it was, we barely had the chance to have any debate in the committee. I got shut down and then we had to reopen it in order to put a couple of points. But that was in the context of not having had any real time to consider the report.

I put on record my concerns at the way in which the committee process is now being completely disregarded. We have a government that is now paying lip-service to the committee process. That was demonstrated today when the daily blue, under “Committee Reports” listed “Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, Mr Gentleman to present report 17”. This was prepared before the committee had met and agreed to this report being presented today. There was no deadline for it to be there today, expect a self-imposed deadline from the government. It is pre-empting the work of the committee.

Basically what we are getting from the chair of this committee and from the government is this idea that what goes on in the committee does not matter. It is becoming an absolute rubber stamp. It makes a mockery of the process. I go back to the election plan

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