Page 1537 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 7 May 2008
that quite clear. What they are saying is that, for whatever reason that it happened, they feel left out of the process—as they were left out of Karralika, as they were left out of the dragway and the prison, and every other process that the government has instituted—to put something on this block of land.
Again, I go back to Mr Corbell’s commitment. Mr Corbell’s commitment was to have a referendum on the open space in the ACT and to entrench it in the open plan—
Mr Seselja: Another broken promise.
MR SMYTH: Yes, another broken promise. Shocking as it seems, it is why Mr Barr is the planning minister and why Mr Corbell is not the planning minister, because what they promised is not what they delivered.
I am concerned by some of the words that Mr Barr used this morning. I apologise if I did not write this down exactly, but he said words to the effect that the government had only provided in principle use of the site, so that the proponent can develop their plans for it. I am quite concerned that this is the case, because what it says is that at any stage, no matter how much you have actually spent on it, this government will, for whatever reason, or can, for whatever reason, whip the land out from under you. It would be interesting to see whether or not the proponent has got the same understanding of their position with this government. They are not the sorts of statements that will endear the business community and those investing in this place to the ACT government.
The amendment was moved by Mr Barr and then amended by Mr Pratt. The last part of Mr Pratt’s amendment was “notes that the development application objection process was not extended beyond 5 May 2008”. I know Mr Barr said in his speeches this morning that they have extended the PA and that that in effect extends the consultation on the DA. But, again, it is not what the ordinary person who is not acutely aware of how the system works was looking for. Indeed, I think many on Friday, when they heard Mr Barr say, “We have extended the process of consultation,” took him at his word and were pleased. I think they would have liked more time, but they were pleased at least that they got some of what they wanted—until they read the Canberra Times the next morning and they realised that it had not been extended by four weeks; it had only been extended by three, until May 27.
They were a bit narked by that. But then, when they went looking for the ads, they found that the PA, the preliminary application submission, had been extended but the DA had not. Again, maybe it is perception—I do not know; maybe Mr Barr is right—but in the community people looked at this as being totally disingenuous. They had expected both the PA and the DA consultation times to be extended.
This is the arrogance of the government. This is the government that says on the news on Friday night one thing, but the reality is, in the cold hard light of the next day, something entirely different. We are not all well acquainted with the planning system. We do not all have a copy of the territory plan under our beds to read at night. I am sure Mr Barr does not. When the public hear the minister say something, they expect the minister to abide by what he says. On Tuesday, 6 May there was an article entitled