Page 390 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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Assembly who have expressed concerns; significant numbers of people in the community have also expressed concern, and that is specifically recognised in our amended preamble.

One of the problems during this debate has been an attempt by the government to isolate only certain people in the Assembly as opposing this development or to isolate people in the community who oppose it as simply NIMBYs or as only a very small number. Mr Smyth, I think, earlier pointed out, through the tabling of documents, that the concerns over this process go much, much further than just the residents of Macarthur and Fadden and surrounding areas.

The concerns went right throughout Tuggeranong and right throughout Canberra in terms of the process, because, if a process like this can occur where a development like this is imposed on the community in Tuggeranong, there is nothing to stop it happening in Gungahlin or west Belconnen or anywhere else. That is a fundamental point. Canberrans all over the place, even if this development does not affect them particularly, know that this would be a very poor precedent. So I think it is important that we put that on the record.

It is also important that we talk about issues around site selection, concerns about the site selection process raised in the Auditor-General’s report, and about the fact that it was the role the ACT government played in the selection of block 1676 district of Tuggeranong that is really part of the rationale of why we would have site specific legislation.

This is a very extraordinary circumstance—this is something we would do only in very rare circumstances—but we believe it is justifiable in this circumstance because of the role of the government, because they got involved and they got it wrong. And because they played such a role we think it is just, in the circumstances, that the government and the legislature in this case play a role in fixing it. We believe it is very important that that is placed in the preamble. It tells a more complete story of how we have got to this point—through the failings of this government in not listening to the community and not taking into account the views of the community. That is even expressed in the current draft of the preamble. That is why we oppose it. That is why we want to add certain words. I ask members for their support.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (5.46): The Greens are supporting Mr Seselja’s amended preamble to this bill because it better reflects the sequence of events that led to this legislation. That is important because the preamble, while it does not change the law, is explanatory. The existing preamble seems to justify this specific time-limited bill on the basis that some members of the Assembly have expressed concerns. I do not believe that is an adequate rationale for this action. The substitute preamble provides a more reasonable and convincing rationale.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.47): I would just like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for his amendment. This whole process has been characterised for some time by the government as a political football that the opposition was kicking; it has been characterised as just a very small group of noisy people. But it was not, and it is not.

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