Page 2028 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 6 May 2009

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that we are going to have to face, being a politician and withdrawing the politics from everything.

However, it is interesting that the minister should say, “Take the politics out of planning.” When he said that, he went on to say, “Only the Labor Party can deliver fair and good planning.” Only the Labor Party delivered the Wollongong City Council crisis, the Wollongong City Council rorts. Maybe this is another one.

Mr Barr is very good at referring to federal Labor, very good at referring to Kevin 07 and all the slogans that belonged to that year. But let us hear him talk about Labor in Wollongong. Let us hear him talk about the great achievements they had in planning in Wollongong. It was a very effective system for a very select few people there. I think a few people in Wollongong did very nicely out of that little arrangement. You might even know some of those people, Mr Barr. Perhaps they were in Young Labor with you; perhaps they were even on committees or executives with you over the years. Perhaps they even benefited from a little kickback here or there in Wollongong, as it seemed a few Labor folk did.

Getting back to the crux of the issue here, I think it is important that we get the right level of development in our suburbs, especially in Giralang, with the issues they face there. The people of Giralang do deserve to have a local shopping centre and they deserve ACTPLA to treat all applications with the utmost respect and transparency. I do hope that this place and that ACTPLA exercise the will of the community and the will of all concerned and bring about the best possible outcome for the people of Belconnen.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (5.34): I am ready to close, if there are no other speakers. Thank you, members. Firstly, I cannot resist making a comment about taking the politics out of planning. I really think that is just not possible. Planning is inherently political. The territory plan gives a whole heap of property rights. It is a political process.

Going back to the Wollongong example, which I think was not so much about politics as corruption—and I am not suggesting for a minute that we do have corruption in the ACT—it is an inherently political process and one of the challenges that we have in terms of actually trying to do planning here or anywhere else is that we are in a mixed economy. The plan can be whatever we write but the people who actually own the land have to decide to act under policy levers which we are using. They may or may not. In fact, that has been one of the issues with local centres, because sometimes the owners of the local centres have thought, “I can make more money if I turn this into residential,” and thus it has been in their interest to achieve that by whatever means. I will talk more about this no doubt at some other time when I have more voice.

Getting back to the substantive amendment: the first part talks about the size restrictions for the gross floor area. This was one area where we had some poor advice, because we actually had thought that the territory plan previously did have size areas and so on. I am happy to be corrected that I got that bit wrong.

Moving on to the other bits: in regard to the supermarket policy clause, I see that the government would prefer to expedite the release rather than commit to releasing it.

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