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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 November 2007) . . Page.. 3350 ..

We will continue to work to make sure that the reintegration does happen. As members would know, we have advertised for an OFMS surgeon. That position is filled and perhaps more of these cases can be done locally, but I imagine there will be times when we need to move people to Sydney for particular specialties. I do not think in the future that we can rule out moving children with trauma or children needing surgery—or adults needing surgery—in particular areas to Sydney, if the best place for them to have that surgery is Sydney. We would be crazy to say, “Well, you can have it done here but the best place for you to have it done is Sydney.”

Planning—Molonglo Valley

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Minister for Planning and concerns the proposed Molonglo Valley development. To what extent are any environmental assessments in the Molonglo Valley dependent on NCA or federal department of the environment and heritage approval before the development in Molonglo Valley can proceed?

MR BARR: I thank Dr Foskey for the question. We are in the middle of a consultation period in relation to the proposed developments in the Molonglo Valley. It is a dual process whereby both the ACT government and the National Capital Authority are consulting concurrently in relation to the proposals. The requirements are quite clear in terms of changes to the national capital plan that this proposal would require. Environmental studies are a key part of both the ACT government work and the National Capital Authority work.

The ACT government has been quite clear in its position on the particular proposal put forward—that we have extensive environmental impact studies as part of that. The National Capital Authority process, I understand, also involves an assessment of environmental matters. In order for the development to proceed, it needs to achieve or go over the benchmarks for both approval agencies. In the context of the ACT government position, we have set a very high benchmark around the environmental studies that we have put in place. The National Capital Authority’s processes are a matter for them; the ACT government cannot dictate which environmental processes the National Capital Authority conducts. We are responsible, though, for the matters that are under our control. The details of the environmental impact studies that are being undertaken in assessing this development are publicly available for Dr Foskey, as part of the consultation that is occurring at the moment.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Dr Foskey?

DR FOSKEY: Yes. What responsibility does the NCA or the federal department of the environment and heritage have in terms of the environmental assessment or planning approval process which determines the relative values, in planning terms, of the large lake option as compared to the series of small settling ponds option?

MR BARR: I will have to take that question on notice. The initial advice that I could provide to Dr Foskey is that these matters are being considered by the ACT government as part of our assessment. In terms of what role the commonwealth would have in that, I would have to take that on notice and provide the information to Dr Foskey.

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