Page 2587 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008

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could respond to the community. I think you have been calling for that. You, amongst other community stakeholders, have been saying that we need to be up-front about what we are going to do with this land. I think you are certainly in the same position. All members of the Assembly and all candidates in the election are going to have to be up-front with the community around what the future use of the land that we are consulting on is going to be. If you do not consult, you are criticised; if you consult, you are criticised. We just cannot win on this. The opposition has a vote each way.

The issue is that we went out and consulted extensively over large parcels of land that related to the Purdon inquiry. That came back to government. It raised some further questions which the government wanted to investigate further, including the decisions that we had taken to create and establish community hubs, to build community halls, to create community parks and to retain large open spaces relating to the ovals attached to the schools. We made all of those decisions, and there are small parcels of land on eight sites about which we had not made decisions. I guess we could have said, “We’ll put this there and this there and this there,” and I imagine the opposition would have had a media release out quick smart saying that we should consult with the community. That is what we are doing. We are consulting with the community.

We understand how long the process has been going on, but there is, I think, a genuine desire by the community to get involved. That has been seen, to some extent, by the attendance at the meetings. Mr Seselja alluded to this yesterday in the MPI debate, when he said that the most common request was to reopen schools and that the second most common request was to have non-government schools established in those facilities. That is simply not correct. That is not what has come out of those community consultation forums. A whole range of ideas have come from them, but there has not been overwhelming support to have the schools reopen. In fact, there has been a level of acceptance that the decisions have been taken.

I have to say that most of the community feedback is for a mix of options, but overwhelmingly it is to retain most of the land for community facilities and open space. That has been what is coming back from the consultation, Mr Seselja. Your informants are wrong; it is not the two issues that you have raised.

The short story is that we have consulted, further issues were raised, and we have gone back to consult again. The opposition can continue to criticise and carp and whine and whinge on this issue, or they could come out and do something positive and tell everyone what they are going to do.

Planning—access to solar energy

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Minister for Planning and is in regard to solar access. In the light or, should I say, shadow of the ACT’s electricity feed-in tariff legislation and the resulting imminent boom in photovoltaic installation across the roofs of Canberra, it has come to my attention that the current planning laws do not protect the right of property owners to assured roof solar access. Current planning laws only ensure that living areas, not roofs, are to receive a minimum three hours of sunlight.

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