Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3635 ..
It is unfortunate. If Dr Foskey was genuine about raising these issues, she might have made some representations herself and made representations through her party, through the senators that they have up in the federal parliament. They might consider making a submission as part of this commonwealth review. If the Greens have done that, I welcome that. If they have not, I suggest they should.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.25): I thank Dr Foskey for bringing forward the matter of public importance on the benefits to the Canberra community of a more thoughtful approach to Canberra airport development, including the imposition of a curfew. It gives us an opportunity to put on the record the views of Canberra Liberals in relation to the importance of the airport.
Dr Foskey is right and Mr Barr is also correct when they dwell on some of the issues regarding planning problems in relation to the airport. These are planning problems which are outside the competence of the ACT government to deal with. They could be partially addressed, I suspect, by a sort of cooperative and inclusive dialogue with the airport and by including the airport in a dialogue about the importance of planning in the ACT. That would require a lack of confrontation which is uncharacteristic of the Stanhope government. The on-again, off-again relationship between the Stanhope government and the airport has made it very difficult for the ACT to make a coherent contribution to important planning issues that affect the ACT in relation to the airport.
It is correct that almost all of the matters relate to decisions made at a commonwealth level in relation to planning and it is true that at the commonwealth level there does seem to be a lack of rigour and a lack of thought about the impact that planning decisions made on airports—not just the Canberra airport, but across the nation—have on the structure and fabric of the cities that host these airports.
That having been said, the Canberra Liberals consider that the airport is an integral part of the communication structure in the ACT and the transport structure of the ACT and see that it has a role as being part of a transport hub which is yet to be developed. As we all know, and bemoan on a regular basis, transport in and out of Canberra is not coherent, is not well designed and does not do a great service to the people of the ACT.
There is increasing discussion these days about the implementation of a very fast train. The Liberal Party in the ACT has always been a strong advocate of that. We lost an opportunity back in about 2000 when the federal government essentially pulled the pin on the VFT at the time. It was a decision without foresight. It was loudly regretted and it is still regretted by people in the ACT. I am glad to see that issues such as the very fast train are now back on the agenda of organisations like the conservation council and the Canberra Business Council—and to some extent on the agenda of the Stanhope government, at least and as far as to say that the Chief Minister can say, “I’ve written a letter to the Prime Minister saying that I think a VFT would be a very good idea.”
I hope that with the new government after the election we will see a more active response in relation to the creation of more integrated transport. It is quite conceivable