Page 2575 - Week 07 - Thursday, 18 June 2009

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

representation. I have received no representations from interested or affected citizens, parties or organisations that they will not have the time or the capacity to meet the time line in relation to their desire to respond.

If there is a genuine concern, genuinely expressed and verifiable, in relation to why, for this particular project, there are issues of an order such that the normal statutory time frames are inadequate, I would be interested to hear those arguments, but I would have to say that at this stage I have had no such representations and I have heard no such arguments. It has not been put or argued to me that there is any issue with the time frames. If there are—if there are genuine issues or concerns, if there are organisations or individuals who think that they will need an extension of time—I would like to see that represented to me and a position put and argued cogently.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question?

MS LE COUTEUR: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Continuing on the same subject, given the complexity and seriousness that certainly has been represented to me about the EIS, could you guarantee that the government will in fact hold some public information sessions on this so that people can actually discuss the issues, and the alternative route options in particular?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Ms Le Couteur. I will take some advice on the consultation on the plans that are currently afoot. I know, for instance, that the Department of Territory and Municipal Services, and Roads ACT I believe, has personally contacted and met with every single lease holder in the Majura valley. Significant steps and effort have been made to date. I am more than happy, Ms Le Couteur, to take advice on what the department’s plans are in relation to an opportunity to fully engage with this project. Of course, if you have regard to some other projects being pursued now and recently by Roads ACT, the community forums, the community meetings, the potential to engage, the information sessions, the documentation that has been provided and the access that has been made has been enormous. On a project as significant and as major and as important as this, and a project where, as we have both acknowledged, there are significant environmental impacts, of course there will be a full engagement with the community in relation to whether or not the preferred route takes account of our capacity to ameliorate environmental impacts to the greatest extent possible, which is what we would want in a reasonable sense.

I have had discussions with Roads ACT. I have received a full briefing on those environmental impacts and the consequences of the route that has been selected and the consequences of other routes on environmental values. I have had a very brief discussion with the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainability in relation to these very same issues and she has been engaged in the process, is fully across it and recognises, again, the significance of the environmental impacts. But the difficulty with this road and this particular project is that there is no area where this road could be routed that does not have a significant environmental impact. It is a question of choosing a route which has the least significant impact, and that is the position we face.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .