Page 1488 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 7 May 2008

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cost-benefit analysis informed by and, in turn, informing a full community engagement process.

The underlying issue of this motion is the ongoing incapacity of the ACT to bring the community along with it. Instead it seems to duck its head in the sand hoping the community does not notice—the community always does notice—and wait for the fuss to die down. This is disrespectful. It denies the right of Canberra residents to have a good say about their built environment and it wastes the resources that are available among our highly educated population. That is why I urge members to support my motion and to reconsider their amendments, which I do not believe provide what the ACT community deserves.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.53): I move:

Omit all words after “ensure”, substitute “that the assessment of the proposed development of ActewAGL’s gas fired power station:

• is carried out in accordance with all statutory requirements;

• is undertaken in consultation with the Canberra community;

• abides by all relevant environmental rules and standards.

The Assembly also acknowledges that the public inspection period of the preliminary assessment has been extended until 27 May 2008.

The Assembly further commends the environmental initiative demonstrated by ActewAGL in proposing a gas fired power station rather than a traditional coal fired power station.

In responding to Dr Foskey’s motion and speaking to the amendment that I have circulated, I think it is important to make a number of statements for the public record. Firstly, it is concerning that the proposal for a gas-fired power station and the associated business data centre has been portrayed by some as a project of the Planning and Land Authority. I need to state very categorically that it is not—that ACTPLA’s role in this case or in any other is to exercise its statutory responsibility to independently examine development proposals put forward by proponents.

Dealing with the facts of this significant project and related development assessment processes, which are still at an early stage, it needs to be stated that the government has only provided in-principle agreement for use of the site for the purpose, subject, of course, to planning approval. ACTPLA, in its role as an independent statutory decision maker, is acting in accordance with the requirements of the territory plan and the relevant legislation.

ACTPLA itself is not a party to the site selection process, and I need to state again categorically in respect of the proposal that has been put forward by the proponents that the land is not to be rezoned to allow consideration of the proposal. The site is

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