Page 383 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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to provide some certainty that reflected the government’s position and interpretation of “communications facility”. I say that on the basis that ACTPLA’s firm view is that it is a broadacre sustained communications facility, and the definition of “communication” or “communications” actually grows as our language and technology grows. The word “communication”, at the time that the territory plan incorporated it, did not imagine or envisage data centres. Of course, they simply did not exist. The law grows, and language within the law is interpreted according to changes in language reflected by changes in technology et cetera.

It was a genuine attempt or desire by the government to provide some clarification around its understanding of the meaning of the term. I understand that there are some that think otherwise. The government has legal advice which suggests that the interpretation that we apply is the appropriate and correct interpretation, but I do not dispute the position that is essentially put by Mr Seselja, the Leader of the Opposition, in the amendment that he proposes in order to remove it. We are quite comfortable with that, accepting that this is a conversation and a debate which we will have on another day as a result of another process.

Let me assure members that the government’s intentions were simply to provide some certainty around this issue where there has been uncertainty. So we are quite happy to support the removal of that provision, and we will support the amendment that the Leader of the Opposition has circulated. The Leader of the Opposition has also circulated an amendment to the—

Mr Seselja: Do you know there’s an update to that?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, I did see it. The Leader of the Opposition has circulated a second amendment, to the preamble. I must say that the update is far more reasonable in the eyes of the government than the original. Having said that, the government will not be supporting it. The government’s position would be one that would either maintain the existing preamble or simply do without one altogether. We will oppose that particular amendment.

As Mrs Dunne has so succinctly pointed out—a point that she seems to think we have not grasped—we can count, at least to 17. Having said that, I thank members for their contributions.

Mr Seselja: The issue of—

MR STANHOPE: There was the other issue, too; you are quite right. I can understand continuing concerns. I can give my understanding of the proponents’ intentions, but it needs to be understood that these are matters essentially on which governments do not have a power to direct. But to the extent that there is a concern that this project on this new site does not suddenly morph into some large gas-fired power station of itself is, of course, a reasonable concern. So I sought some advice on the issue. Mr Seselja did me the courtesy of informing me earlier that he would be raising this issue today. So I did seek some advice, and the advice has come to me from Mr Cappie-Wood, the head of the Chief Minister’s Department. His advice is to inform me that there is no variation in the co-generation power capacity proposed for the new site. Details of the proponents’ intentions are contained in the EIS that is

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