Page 3183 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 19 August 2008

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It is interesting to note that this afternoon after question time the Minister for Planning proposes to table the final variation to the territory plan. What we actually had, without any openness, was good old faithful Mick Gentleman, the lap dog of the Labor Party, saying, “We need to get this variation made.” He did not have the courtesy to say, “This is the process. If we finalise it today, the minister can make the variation and the disallowance period will be able to be finalised before the Assembly rises at the end of next week.” There was nothing like that. It was just “We’re going to push it through. We’re going to push it through without the full contingent of members”—when a member had made it very clear that the time that they suggested was unsuitable. There was no particular pleading; it was just “Oh, good, you are not there; we will make this decision.” What we have had is the two Labor members of the planning and environment committee signing off on this report.

I do not have any particular concerns or reservations about any of the recommendations that are in this report—I support them—but I had some substantive comments to make to the committee that would have strengthened some of those recommendations and I had some substantive comments for the addition of other recommendations. But the point is that this is a bad process—another bad process fostered by the Stanhope government, whose only desire is to push things through and get their own way. Mr Gentleman decided that this was going to be signed off yesterday, and nothing was going to stand in his way. He should be condemned for that.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.07): I want to thank Mr Gentleman for my personally signed copy of the committee report. It is not very often that one gets one of these. But I also just want to make some comments—

Mrs Dunne: They were in such a hurry to print it that they forgot to sign it, obviously.

DR FOSKEY: Yes. Anyway, it is very wonderful to have the report today but it is very disturbing to hear from Mrs Dunne. I thank her for her full commentary on the process, because that is usually what we do not get from chairs. We are going to get the final variation tabled this afternoon and we have not actually had a chance to look at the committee’s report.

I want to comment on the report in the sense that I think it is a much better report than we have seen so far on the Molonglo issue. Perhaps the proximity to an election has something to do with that. It is very clear that there was a huge amount of interest in this inquiry because there were a large number of submissions. Of course, there were quite a few public hearings as well. I not only made a submission but also I attended as many of the hearings as I could and caught up with transcripts.

Molonglo, as a town of the future, is absolutely a test case for how the ACT Labor government has taken on issues related to climate change. We are talking about this now in 2008, but people are going to be living here, we hope, in 2050, in the year 3000 and from thereon. We have to be thinking, when we plan this township, of what the constraints are going to be on populations and urban development 50 years hence—even 100 years hence.

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