Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 June 2008) . . Page.. 1890 ..
because these are matters properly addressed by rigorous statutory assessment—not by me. Similarly, I might personally disapprove of, say, a proposal for an Elvis wedding chapel on the shores of Lake Ginninderra, but should not such an idea have its merits considered regardless of my personal belief that it should be a Leonard Cohen wedding chapel instead?
The role of the independent planning authority is to notify and then assess the impact of a proposal on residents and on the environment. That is exactly and precisely what ACTPLA is doing right now, this minute. In the case of the data centre, those processes had not been completed when the project proponent significantly revised the scale of the project. The assessment of the revised proposal is still underway; it is continuing; no decisions have been made; evidence is still being accumulated.
Mr Speaker, where is the failure of process? There has been none. On the contrary, there has been a robust and independent planning system working as it should, free of the sort of knee-jerk, Wollongong-style political interference that the Liberals are committed to introduce. “Abort the process,” they cry. “On what grounds?” we ask. “The community is afraid,” they cry. “Might not facts dispel that fear?” we suggest. “Yes, and we wouldn’t want that,” they respond, “Abort the process.”
Mr Speaker, I stand ready always to have my actions and conduct scrutinised by the Assembly. I am even prepared to defend myself in relation to accusations hurled by the opposition leader, who openly refuses to be held to the same standards of honesty and integrity, yet who seriously offers himself to the community as an alternative Chief Minister. I am prepared to defend myself against attacks by the Leader of the Opposition, who has misled the community and hoodwinked the media about non-existent proposals for a gas-fired power station in Belconnen, who has accused professional public servants, by implication, of misleading a committee essentially under oath and who has failed to correct the record even after categoric proof is placed in the hands of his own party.
Address the facts, the accuser says. I call on the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues today to search their consciences and do just that. Set aside the fiction. Set aside the wishful thinking and the political ambition and address the facts. Produce the evidence.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.32): The Chief Minister stands there and says, “Address the facts.” He says, “Tell us where it exists.” He says, “Table the evidence.” The Leader of the Opposition tabled document after document that the Chief Minister has not addressed, has not rebutted and has not refuted. And he says, “Address the fiction of Belconnen.” I will address the fiction of Belconnen.
The LDA explicitly says that Belconnen was to include a gas-fired power generator when requesting evaluation of the site. The site was valued to include a gas-fired power station in Belconnen. It is in the documents, it is in a minute from a Michael Britton, project officer, to Ray Stone, senior project officer, signed by both on 5 June 2007, Chief Minister. Read your document that you provided. I will read it for the benefit of the Assembly:
ActewAGL have approached the Land Development Agency regarding the sale of two blocks of land. The proposed use of the blocks of land is for gas fired power generators and data storage facilities.