Page 56 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (12.10): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill allows for the processing of a development application for a data centre on block 20, section 23 Hume by 26 March 2009. As members will recall, in response to the real threat of the proposal not going ahead, the proponent, Technical Real Estate, wrote to me on 11 November 2008 seeking assurances associated with the identification of an alternative site.

I established an interagency taskforce chaired by the Chief Minister’s Department to provide advice to the government on the transfer of the project to another site, to provide advice to government on the criteria for project relocation, and to report to government on the issues and matters to be resolved around the timely transfer of the project to the new site.

The task force comprised representatives of ACT Health, the Department of Territory and Municipal Services, the Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water, the Land Development Agency and the ACT Planning and Land Authority. The task force examined a number of potential sites and rated them according to size, zoning, proximity to existing services, proximity to residences, the existing land tenure, past site studies, ecological and heritage issues.

On balance, the district of Tuggeranong site was considered most suitable, with the next most suitable site being block 20, section 23, which has the following characteristics: it is zoned industrial compared to broadacre; it is unleased and unoccupied territory land; the LDA has undertaken the appropriate ecological and heritage surveys and site investigations to clear the site for use as industrial land; it was originally offered for sale by the LDA as an englobo industrial estate but was passed in at auction in late August 2008, meaning it could quickly be made available; it is further away from residential development; and it is close to existing services.

The relocation proposal to the new site, regardless of the status of the statutory planning approval process to the Tuggeranong district development application, will require the planning process to begin again. In the circumstances, this would result in unreasonable delays and duplication of effort. The government believes that situation to be unacceptable, sending the wrong message to the business community that the ACT does not support economic growth, and may inadvertently reduce the confidence of the business community for investment in the territory.

To facilitate the processing of the DA for the new site within the same time frame as the existing DA, special purpose legislation is required and should be passed by the Assembly in the December sittings. The task force has prepared such legislation—the

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