Page 2484 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 1 July 2008

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1. A planner must have special concern for the long-range consequences of present actions.

2. A planner must pay special attention to the inter-relatedness of decisions.

There is quite a lot more said here, Mr Speaker. I think that what is true for planners is true for all policy makers. The quote continues:

3. A planner must strive to provide full, clear and accurate information on planning issues to citizens and governmental decision-makers.

4. A planner must strive to give citizens the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on the development plans and programs …

 … … …

6. A planner must strive to protect the integrity of the natural environment.

7. A planner must strive for excellence of environmental design and endeavour to conserve the heritage of the built environment.

I commend that because it is not just an obligation for planners; also, government, bureaucrats and other policy makers do have an obligation to engage.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (3.47): I thank Mr Stefaniak for bringing forward this very important MPI today. The issue of consultation is a critically important one. It is critically important that governments are engaged with the community that they serve. It is critically important that governments honour their election promises and it is critically important that they do give the community a say in major decisions that will affect the day-to-day lives of Canberrans. These are fundamental principles. These are principles which we certainly believe in, and they are also fundamentally issues that the government has failed on, and failed on in a number of demonstrable ways.

There have been a number of different models of consultation from this government. It is worth reflecting on a couple of the different ways of consulting that have occurred. In relation to school closures, it is the “consultation to cover the broken promise” model, which is essentially a matter of going to the election, promising not to close schools and then, after the election, consulting on just how many schools you should close. So instead of being honest and up-front at the election about the plans, instead of being fair dinkum with the community, you then reduce consultation to a sham by saying: “Well, how many schools should we close? We think 39. What do you think?” In the end, of course, the magic number they came up with was 23.

That is not real consultation. Real consultation in that regard would have been to go to the election and be honest by saying: “We believe we need to rationalise the number of schools. We believe these schools need to close. You make your judgement about our policy.” That would have been the honest and decent thing to do, but we did not see that. This is the “consult to cover for the broken promise” model.

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