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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3186 ..

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (11.17): I will be brief. As a member for Molonglo, I thought it was pertinent that I make some comment on the issues that I have been privy to. Of course, I have not been privy to committee meetings and so forth. I think Mrs Dunne and Dr Foskey have talked about what has happened there quite successfully. What I have seen and what I have witnessed is yet another disgraceful and shambolic process that has gone on here.

This is one of the most significant planning projects proposed for Canberra. Yet we would have had to have seen, from what I am being told and from the bits I have been engaged in, one of the worst processes. When you are looking at it, it almost seems that the government had this idea, they have thought about it, talked behind closed doors, presented it to the community and glazed it over as some sort of community consultation. Already fait accompli, we are then presented with it. Like we see today now, we are going to see some stuff rammed through this Assembly. The government could not care less about the community.

I have been a part of many committee meetings, including Weston Creek Community Council meetings, where this issue was raised by very concerned residents of the Molonglo Valley and north Weston. Dr Foskey, I think, very adequately talked about the bigger picture in the Molonglo Valley. But I think that we have seen here a government being dragged kicking and screaming to the point of finally recognising the community’s concerns. This happened only after the Weston Creek Community Council stood up and raised in the community the issue about the arboretums and the gardens.

There was a lack of detail that was out there. This is typical of this government; we have a lack of detail. We have this big project but the community are left behind because you do not give the detail. And the devil always is in the detail. They were not brought along with this process. It was the most frustrating thing I think I have ever watched, sitting in these community meetings where people genuinely were trying to get a grip on what the government was proposing but simply could not.

The poor officials and consultants who came along from the planning body and elsewhere were led like lambs to the slaughter to try and present the case to often very hostile crowds. It is a signature tune of this government that its relationship with this community has become so arrogant and it has become so removed. You are out of touch. You do not know what people are thinking because you do not stop to listen and you do not really care. As long as you can have this plan and it goes that way, it all seems to be some game that you play. Well, you are playing with people’s lives again and again and again.

I mentioned the arboretum, the gardens and all of those things. But I think what we saw here too were severe situations around existing infrastructure in the north Weston area with the Baha’i, Sikh and Orana school. Mrs Dunne said that she can now agree to support the recommendations. This is not because of anything that the government did. It is because of an intervention by the community standing up for the community and the intervention of the NCA in terms of hills, ridges and buffers.

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