Page 4854 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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reflects our community’s egalitarian values, and this can only be realised by an open and transparent process and through a broad planning approach that takes account of all the other relationships—physical, economic, social, financial—and not through this bill, which is narrow minded, ill-conceived and narrowly focused and which will not achieve the outcomes that Mr Seselja seeks.

The government does not support this bill. This bill is unnecessary. It is a new layer of bureaucracy. We want to streamline the planning system; Mr Seselja wants to add more layers to it. We want to develop a cooperative approach with the National Capital Authority; Mr Seselja wants to create, and entrench in legislation, conflict. We want to look at development of the whole of the city centre; Mr Seselja wants to neglect the rest of the city and only focus on what happens in London Circuit. All of these issues only reinforce in the government’s mind why this bill cannot be supported today.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.42): It is good that we can keep Mr Corbell guessing, because what you have seen today is that Mr Corbell is floundering despite the recommendations of his own committee. He is sitting here today defending his government’s position to oppose the City Hill bill despite the recommendations of his own group that he picked basically to come up with his idea.

The history of ACT self-government is littered with ministers who have created a situation where they get their way, and this is a classic case. We have some examples from the past. Entrepreneurs, developers, proposed a light rail system from Gungahlin into Civic before Gungahlin was developed, and the minister for urban services and transport at the time basically took the proposal to his bureaucrats, threw it on the table and said, “Kill it.” They did, to the detriment of Canberra. What we have here is the playing out of the petulance of this minister, whose particular aim was to kill the ideas and the innovation of anyone outside his select circle.

On radio this morning, Mr Seselja put it fairly succinctly. Mr Corbell was scrabbling for relevance because he knew that businessmen around town were developing their vision for Civic and, not to be outdone by people who have a long commitment to Canberra, he had to come up with his vision, which has been pretty much borne out by the visionless document that has been brought forward by his select group. Everything that Mr Corbell has spoken about today is really an effective way of trampling upon the hopes and aspirations and a vision for this city.

The development of the Civic-City Hill precinct is not something that would happen overnight under any formula. It takes time, it takes thought, it takes openness and it takes dealing with the community. Mr Seselja’s bill creates the framework for that. But what we actually have, through the announcements made today by Mr Corbell, what he has said in the paper and what he said on radio this morning, is really, quite frankly, a trampling on vision, a trampling on aspiration and a shelving of anything that will take Civic forward in a holistic way for many years, because this man does not have the ticker to do it. This man does not have the vision, the will or the guts to make the hard decisions and come up with a structure that will take the city of Canberra forward, that will involve the people of Canberra and make Civic the real heart of Canberra.

We have talked about it for years. Those of us who have been involved in the planning debates in the ACT over years have heard people mouth the platitudes that Civic is the

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