Page 3180 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

interest, in the community. It is interesting to spend some time to reflect upon the process in relation to this draft variation. Almost all the comments that I will make are, in one form or another, about the process and the failure of process.

There was a high level of dissatisfaction from the community with the process of coming to draft variation 281. Although there had been a series of consultations and public meetings, and putting up of displays and things like this, when we actually got to draft variation 281 it was quite apparent to me and to other members of the Assembly that members of the community still felt that they had not been listened to. It was sufficient to prompt a demonstration outside the Legislative Assembly. It is not often—and certainly has not been the case in the life of this Assembly—that a variation to the territory plan has caused people to go so far.

There was also associated with this the process related to the appalling treatment of the occupiers of the forestry caretaker’s cottage, which has received some notoriety, and the speed with which the planning authorities and the ministers eventually decided that they were going to have to keep people out, despite the fact that, as a result of that, they had to put up a fence and employ a security guard rather than have occupiers maintain the security of the property.

The community angst was fairly widespread. The Weston Creek Community Council was concerned—as were the principal lessees of the north Weston area, the Arana school, the Baha’i community and the Sikh community—about the treatment of the north Weston area.

Yes, there have been changes which are reflected in the variation of the territory plan, but those changes have been forced by the National Capital Authority, not done through an open and consultative process where the ACT government listened to its electors, had a conversation with them and came to a mutually agreeable solution. This is one of the great failings of process of the Stanhope government. We are now in the situation of saying, “We are a majority government; we can do what we like, we do not really have to listen to the community and we do not have to take account of the impact on the community”—the long-term impact, way after Mr Stanhope and Mr Barr have vacated their offices. There was a high level of anxiety amongst the equestrian community.

For the most part, those issues have been addressed through the draft variation process. But one thing that was peculiar about this draft variation was that, while the committee was inquiring into it, there was a constant updating of what ACTPLA was doing. That is good and bad. It is good that eventually they are listening, but it is unfortunate that the documentation that we were dealing with, and that the public was dealing with, was not fixed. It was difficult to know whether we were talking about the most up-to-date version.

It was interesting to note the unseemly interactions between ACTPLA and the National Capital Authority. I thought that it was entirely inappropriate that officials from ACTPLA, especially, attempted—if I had not been able to prevent this—to use the mechanisms of the public hearings of the planning and environment committee to undertake a running sniper campaign against the National Capital Authority and,

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .