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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 7 May 2008) . . Page.. 1501 ..

significant concerns that a large number of Weston Creek residents have about, firstly, the need to keep a buffer between the proposed Molonglo development and Weston Creek and, secondly, the Arana school, the Baha’i centre and the new Sikh community centre being surrounded by proposed high-density housing. What attention has your department paid to submissions made by the Weston Creek Community Council, and will you undertake to listen to and instruct your department to listen to the residents of Weston Creek on these issues?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Mulcahy for the question. It is, indeed, a very important question and I welcome the opportunity to provide the Assembly with some information in relation to the government’s response made through the Planning and Land Authority and my own personal interest as Minister for Planning and as a local representative for that Weston Creek area.

In the first instance, through the ability of the public to make comment through the draft variation process, I am aware that the Weston Creek Community Council, together with the Arana school and a number of other associated organisations, have made a detailed submission to the Planning and Land Authority in relation to the proposal that has been put forward as part of draft variation 281. I am meeting with representatives of the Weston Creek Community Council later this afternoon, about 6 o’clock, about three hours and 15 minutes from now. I will be meeting with them this evening. I understand and acknowledge the issues that have been raised by the Weston Creek Community Council.

However, in all of these matters, the government is seeking to balance the need for more housing and more housing supply in the ACT. We are seeking to do so in a manner that is appropriate for the areas that we are considering.

Members would be aware that I have announced that, following the successful implementation, through this year’s budget, of a new water culture for the CIT at Bruce, the future of the existing arboretum on the CIT campus at Weston can be guaranteed. I have announced that that site will be protected as part of redevelopments in that area. That includes both the eucalyptus arboretum and the other arboretum.

As Mrs Burke would be aware, there are, of course, on that site a number of different landholders. The ANU has some land. The Australian Federal Police have some land in that part of Weston Creek. All of those organisations are involved in discussions with the Planning and Land Authority in relation to future development proposals.

I just happen to have in front of me a copy of the proposals that the Weston Creek Community Council have put forward for discussion with me this evening. They have put these proposals forward. The Planning and Land Authority have made some initial comments on aspects of those proposals. I have, of course, referred this variation to the Assembly’s planning and environment committee for its consideration. This is part of an ongoing debate.

Just like the issue we have been discussing this morning, this is part of the public debate, part of the process.

Mrs Burke: It is not over, then.

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