Page 2939 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 6 August 2008

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Mr Pratt: If you’d put them in the right site—

MR SPEAKER: I warn you, Mr Pratt.

MR STANHOPE: It is a wonderful vindication of the integrity of our planning process. It is a wonderful vindication of the attitude that this government has taken in relation to this thing from the outset. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Chief Minister, did you or your government require that a peaking power station be part of this proposal as part of the agreement to sell this piece of land in Tuggeranong?

MR STANHOPE: There were a number of conditions in relation to the potential sale of land. One of them was that the independent statutory planning process would be allowed to run, and of course by implication, without interference from the government—an interference that the Liberal Party have indicated that they are more than prepared, indeed willing, to adopt in relation to this. There were a number of conditions in relation to the ultimate transfer of the land.

Gas-fired power station

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, can you please inform the Assembly of the planning process in place for the assessment of the data centre project for Canberra?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Gentleman for his question. As members of the Assembly are aware, on 26 March 2008 a preliminary assessment for the Canberra technology city was lodged with the Planning and Land Authority. The PA was publicly notified in the Canberra Times and it was also notified by way of a notifiable instrument on the legislation register, in accordance with part 4 of the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991. Over 700 submissions have been received on the proposal.

The ACT Planning and Land Authority have been undertaking an assessment of the proposal as set out in our planning laws, and they have now completed that assessment and advised me that more information is needed on certain aspects of the PA. So following a thorough and independent evaluation of the preliminary assessment by the Planning and Land Authority, their advice to me is that further environmental assessment of the proposal is required in the key areas of health, flora, fauna and heritage. As a result, today I have announced that I will be directing the proponent to engage an independent consultant to undertake an environmental impact statement on the project.

The government believes the data centre project has great potential for the Canberra economy and community, but we have been consistent in our commitment to the people of Canberra that the project will only go ahead if there are no adverse direct health impacts or environmental impacts for the community.

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