Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 March 2008) . . Page.. 442 ..
is needed and it is about seeing into the future and making judgements about what the future needs of Canberrans will be.
This government have failed particularly on these key areas of housing affordability and water and they need to answer those questions. They need to stand before the people of Canberra and say, “Yes, we got it wrong; we should have planned ahead. We got it wrong on housing affordability. We are still getting it wrong, but we are now starting to realise that we have got it wrong.” But these issues and these failures of planning are not just abstract, not just an abstract exercise; they are failures that affect the day-to-day lives of Canberrans, particularly those who now see the dream of owning a home out of reach.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (4.42): This is a topic that is very dear to my heart, and one that is essential when we talk about Canberra. One hundred years ago, the city of Canberra was not here. There were a bunch of sheep farms. The old adage is that Canberra represents good sheep country ruined. Everything that Canberra is has been the result of planning. It has been very interesting, because I have made it a particular study of mine, to look at how planning has proceeded over those 100 years. Canberra was considered globally to be at the forefront of innovation in planning for many, many decades. It is in that light that I want to talk about this topic today.
Of course, when Canberra was more or less a department of the commonwealth government, there was a great deal more money available. There were also a lot more interesting programs. Let us consider some of them. There have been surges in Canberra’s planning history. We know that it was Menzies who really got things moving in the fifties and sixties in terms of putting money into Canberra. There has always been a national reluctance to spend money in Canberra. We have seen that recently, with the announcement by Rudd of cuts to institutions like the National Library, the National Gallery and so on. He gets away with it, even though these are national institutions doing national work, because people say, “Ah, that’s Canberra, spoilt Canberra.” Of course, when there is nothing there except for a sheep farm, it is going to cost a lot to put a city there. So let us acknowledge that. We had the best planners, the best people and the best knowledge applied to the planning of Canberra. So we have had successions of fashion in planning in Canberra.
However, I am certainly not one who says we should resile from self-government. It was always a frustration that under the NCDC and the NCA communities were given almost no input into the planning process. I am sure that one of the reasons that those who supported self-government did so—we know there were detractors—was because they thought they would have more opportunity to have a say in the planning of their suburbs. For a while, we saw that that was indeed so. In writing my masters thesis, I saw that the processes of planning for Gungahlin were extremely intensive, extremely deep and more or less thrown out when it came to building the place. So consultation is only of use when it is applied.
We now have almost no consultation in planning. We have recently passed legislation in this place, and we will pass legislation and regulations on Thursday, that will reduce the possibility for communities to have a say in planning to an even greater extent. I think that is a great pity, because in this city we still have a lot of those