Page 2463 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 17 June 2009

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Mr Speaker, switch your thinking is a great Labor government initiative, a great initiative focused on tackling the issues that are most immediate and of great concern to Canberrans. Labor is moving ahead with its commitments to provide comprehensive programs to tackle climate change and to improve the sustainability of our city. This program allows us to do it in a way that starts at the household level.

Labor is proud of these programs. We look forward to their rollout and the assistance that they will provide to many thousands of Canberra homes.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Minister for Planning


MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (2.44): by leave, I move:

That the Assembly censure Minister Andrew Barr for his contempt shown for the Assembly by his refusal to appear before the Estimates Committee when recalled.

Mr Speaker, the Liberal Party take censure motions very seriously. We also take the role of minister and the responsibilities it entails very seriously. We have seen many examples of this Assembly calling on ministers to consider an action or to take action, and these calls have been met. Unfortunately, the Minister for Planning apparently feels he is above the Assembly. He feels he can ignore the will of a committee. He feels that the ACT public does not deserve an open and accountable government and an open and accountable planning system.

The Westminster system has been designed to ensure that governments are open and accountable and that ministers can be recalled to committees to answer further questions that are in the public interest. The current composition of the Assembly, reflected in the composition of the estimates committee, should indicate to all members that this place is different from most parliaments and, as such, there will be both greater collaboration and greater scrutiny.

Since the election, and particularly following the budget release this year, the government talk of their plans to consult. They will consult on the proposed cemetery, they will consult on the future of the family and community day public holiday and they will consult on the kangaroo management plan, but they will not consult on the purchase of a hospital and they will not consult on the development of a hospital car park.

The Minister for Planning has made many comments about taking the politics out of planning. On 29 May, Mr Barr said:

After a request from the Minister for Health I have decided to call-in the applications and consider them myself in order to keep politics out of planning …

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