Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 26 March 2009) . . Page.. 1458 ..
The continuation of the drought is out of our hands, but the government will continue to be proactive in its approach to ensure that the community has access to quality facilities for sports and recreation in the future.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.36): This is a debate about planning. Have no doubt about it: when we talk about sporting facilities and the current debacle that the minister has foisted upon the swimming community of the ACT, it is not about his position as sport and rec minister; it is about his position as planning minister.
I think Mr Rattenbury got it absolutely right when he commented: “You’re an ambulance driver, Andrew; you just pick up the pieces later.” You would almost think the minister was afraid of telling ACTPLA to do something—to direct them to be proactive, to tell them to get out and do their job, which is to make sure that people comply with their leases—or at least to ask Mr Corbell to ask the regulatory services guys to go and make sure premises are compliant with OH&S; or ask Minister Gallagher, as health minister, to go out and do some health checks on the premises.
If the reports are correct, Deakin pool probably is not compliant with the code, but we do not have a minister who is interested in forcing the law. Nor do we have a minister who is interested in making sure that the people of Canberra have the facilities they deserve. It is almost as though he said to the department: “Don’t be proactive. Only deal with breaches, only deal with formal applications, because we don’t want to talk about good ideas in case we have to do something. And, as for the pools, well, let them fall over. Then we will act. We won’t give advice outside the formal process.”
Deakin Swimming Ltd approached this minister last June and they approached, at the same time, ACTPLA. And what were they told? “Give us a proposal.” And they did; they did it in September. They gave it to the minister and they gave it to ACTPLA—
Mr Barr: And I said no. And I said no to them.
MR SMYTH: They have been sitting on it ever since.
Mr Barr: I’ve said no. The proposal doesn’t—
MR SMYTH: They have had no direction, no guidance, no assistance.
Mr Barr: No, I’ve said no—quite explicitly. I wrote back to them and said the proposal won’t work.
MR SMYTH: They will not work with community groups to secure good facilities into the future and that is the failure of this minister.
Mr Barr: I just said no, Brendan.
MR SMYTH: That is why this is a planning debacle of immense proportions—because we have got a minister who—