Page 4865 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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which seems to be struggling even now, with that great plan that they had down there. You still have to be convinced that it is not going to drag you down.

The focus that has gone on City Hill is fair enough. The debate that has flown from it has been a very constructive process. There is some suspicion that it was a diversionary tactic on the part of Terry Snow. Nevertheless, it focused on planning, and people took an interest in it. The Canberra Times embraced it and people become involved in it. That is a good thing.

However, when we just happen to have the hands on the levers of government, then we have to be practicable and we have to say what can and cannot be done. There was some byplay about the buildings that are now under construction and the cranes in the sky. I have a little list here that I quickly got in consultation with the planning minister: section 88; section 84; QIC; City West, which has a 10-year program, including student residences; Leighton’s building, which has now got a government department as a tenant; Leighton are building NICTA; the Willemsen building; the building at Acton House; the Metropolitan on Northbourne Avenue or whatever that damn thing is. And it goes on.

There is plenty happening and that is what provides the projected space above the demand curve on page 37. We have to be aware of that; we have to at least be aware of the fact that there is a projected substantial increase in commercial space. Remember that City Hill is not just commercial space; it is also residential space. I am sure that further analysis would show that there is a similar situation in the projection for residential space, particularly with all those units that we are aware of that are going to come onto the market. Adding to that might create a scenario like you see on page 37 or even worse.

Then a responsible government says, “What do we do? How do we make sure that we take as much benefit out of this exercise as we possibly can but at the same time not just rush into it as fools sometimes do?” That is the process that we have undertaken. When the MBA comes out and says that it supports what the government is doing, you have a fair indication that the government has made the right decision in terms of addressing the available commercial space.

I return to my original theme. This would make a good case study on how this Assembly works. It is not about being constructive; it is not about being courageous; it is not about being dynamic. It is just about trying to pinch a bit of the action. We heard a couple of speeches from the other side which were almost totally designed as a personal assault on Mr Corbell who, I notice, did not take a whole lot of notice really. I suppose that is also a commentary on the fact that he has become quite inured to Mrs Dunne’s continued personalising of debates. How many times did she repeat the same theme? In the last five minutes, it was just over and over, saying the same things in different ways. You will have to brush up the vocabulary to be able to keep it going without becoming totally cyclical in what you are doing.

As I said, this is a genuine case study in how things quite often operate here. The bottom line is that there is nothing constructive coming from that side of the house. This is not constructive; this is not dynamic; this is not courageous; this is some bloody petty little copycat process; and they are trying to bloody steal a little bit of the action. To try to paint it as courageous and dynamic, give me a break!

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