Page 1586 - Week 05 - Thursday, 8 May 2008

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The Stanhope government must come clean with the community. I cannot for the life of me comprehend why I have to come to the Assembly and cause to have something published when it is axiomatic that it should be published. I do not understand what power is being influenced over the committee so that they should not want to publish this report. There are things that have been said in the committee which I cannot discuss here, and which I will be able to discuss at more length when the report comes down. But members of the community are asking me what the Stanhope government has to hide. They are left to speculate that something untoward may be going on at Namadgi national park that the Stanhope government wants to keep secret as much as possible.

This is the sort of mean-spirited action that you would expect from a government which, when it came to power, said there would be more openness and more accountability from a Stanhope Labor government. In 2004, the Chief Minister said that the people of Canberra had nothing to fear from a majority government. We know that the organisations which are concerned with conservation in the ACT have a lot to fear from a majority government because they know they are being shackled by a lack of openness and a lack of accountability.

As a member of the Legislative Assembly and as the shadow minister for environment, I am concerned about the level to which the community’s participation in this inquiry has been shackled. I am concerned that the finalised draft management plan, which affects 50 per cent of the land mass of the ACT, will be the poorer because there has not been the capacity for members of the ACT public, the people who pay our salary, to participate, have a view and to express their views in an unconstrained way on the way we manage Namadgi national park.

The committee’s failure to publish this report represents another failure of accountability. I am concerned that the government members of the committee would rather toe the party line in relation to a lack of accountability than be open to the people of the ACT, who pay their salaries.

This is an unprecedented motion. I have been a member here for seven years and I worked here for five years before that. I have never seen a situation like this before. The advice that I have seen is that this has never happened—and nor should it happen. This should be the last time we ever have a motion like this. I commend to the house the motion that the revised draft management plan for Namadgi national park be published so that the people of the ACT can know what is going on.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.31): I am excited that Mrs Dunne is showing an interest in the P and E committee’s work and its current inquiry into the consultation process for the draft plan of management for Namadgi. I am excited because so far it has been difficult to entice Mrs Dunne to take part in the committee process. I advised the Assembly on Tuesday that Mrs Dunne has been absent for two out of the last four meetings that have dealt with this inquiry.

One of the most important opportunities the committee has had with respect to this current inquiry was a well-organised visit to the Namadgi national park. TAMS

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