Page 2282 - Week 06 - Friday, 27 June 2008

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I will not go into the detail of the QEII development, except to say by way of digression that that whole process certainly was a concern to me. There was a lack of advertising of that site in particular, a prime commercial space, and then it emerged later that we had this condition whereby the developer got to occupy the land without having paid for it. It is obviously quite a significant advantage when you do not have to fork out the significant amount of money for the purchase of land; you are able to start building; and so you do not have all of the holding costs that a developer, a builder or, indeed, a first homebuyer, if they buy a block of land, has to bear. I certainly put those issues on the record.

In regard to the Kingston development, I just reiterate that we would have preferred to have had all the information and been able to properly examine that.

In summary, on planning, I note the minister’s comments in relation to planning system reform. We certainly believe that we are hopefully moving in the right direction in terms of some of the changes. And that is why I personally have been supportive in the broad, but we do maintain those concerns. The minister and the planning authority will really have to demonstrate to us and demonstrate to the industry that the changes that they say they are making now, belatedly, post-March, in terms of a lot of the administration are actually being made and are actually going to improve the situation. I put that on the record once again and we look forward very much to hearing in the next month or two from the minister about improvements that have been made. I look forward, hopefully, if that actually is the case, to industry supporting that and to the industry groups telling us that, in fact, improvements have been made.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (5.54): I rise for a couple of minutes only, to express my deep disappointment at ACTPLA’s handling of the gas-fired power station and data centre project. The influence that they have exerted in this has been underwhelming, and I stand up to represent my constituents in expressing this concern.

I bring to the minister’s attention, who again finds this particularly humorous, the plight of Jane and Richard Hedges who run the horse agistment down in the Macarthur paddocks. I express my amazement at the note that they received in early April that they would have to quit the place. That seems to have been about the first indication to that community in general about what was coming their way in terms of this particular project.

Of course we now know—and it is quite legendary—that the Hedges and other people went and found the small yellow sign on the front fence, adjacent to the T-junction on Long Gully Road, which indicated that there were intentions to look at the siting of the 210-megawatt gas-fired power station and data centre in that area, a couple of kilometres from a very solid population in northern Tuggeranong and, particularly, 600 metres from Macarthur. I expressed my dismay at the nine-odd notifications received between October 2007 and January 2008 about the intention to look at locating this particular project in that Macarthur area—notifications from government agencies, including ACTPLA, but of course not all from ACTPLA.

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