Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 June 2008) . . Page.. 1942 ..
MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services (4.21): Mr Speaker, the enthusiasm with which Mr Stefaniak launched into the prosecution of his case belies the weakness of the argument that those opposite have when it comes to this no-confidence motion. Mr Stefaniak needed to be kept on life support to get through the last few minutes of his speech, so convinced is he of the merits of this argument. Indeed, it says much that the most experienced member of the Liberal opposition is the one who has shown the least enthusiasm for this argument. He knows that this argument is a confected one, without foundation, and displays a fundamental inability to understand how the planning and land development process works. Further, it fails to understand the fundamentals of the processes of government decision making.
The arguments that have been put forward by Mr Seselja and his colleagues today are simply a political stunt—nothing more and nothing less. There are four key arguments on which the opposition has sought to base its poorly judged no-confidence motion today. The first is that the Chief Minister gave inconsistent testimony and testimony that is inconsistent with the written record. To support his argument, today the Leader of the Opposition tabled a series of documents that he asserts prove that the Chief Minister sought in some way to create a situation where the gas-fired power station should be located in the location immediately adjacent to the suburbs of Fadden and Macarthur.
The documents do no such thing. What do these documents actually show? The documents show, for example, that a range of sites were considered and that there were a range of considerations that had to be taken into account in relation to each site. Most surprisingly from those opposite—shock, horror—the government, or government agencies to be more precise, took account of land value when deciding which was the most appropriate site for release. Imagine if government agencies had failed to take account of land value.
Let us remember the criticism of the Leader of the Opposition about a number of other government processes where he has sought to criticise government processes. This is the man who has criticised the government at length for, he asserts, failing to have regard to land value in sites such as the QE II development site in the city and the EpiCentre site in Fyshwick. His main complaint in both of those instances was that the government failed to take account of land value in determining the most appropriate use for those sites and approving the uses that occurred on those sites. Yet, in the argument he presents today, he criticises the government for saying that cost is a consideration. As the Chief Minister has said, that was not a matter that related to his decision making, but it is quite clear that it was a factor in discussion by government officials. Indeed, it would be negligent if government agencies did not have regard to the issue of cost, suitable alternative sites and other potential uses for those sites. The opposition cannot have it both ways. They cannot say, “Well, in some instances you should have regard to the land value and in other instances you shouldn’t.” What a hypocritical and contradictory position by those opposite.
Of course, the real killer of the so-called smoking gun that Mr Seselja attempted to confect today is the letter that the Chief Minister wrote on 19 July to the chief executive of ActewAGL where he clearly indicated that there were three sites in