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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2010) . . Page.. 57 ..

and those other Kingston retailers outside Green Square, and there was a very different view and approach to this particular issue by shopkeepers, owners and operators in Kingston, depending on whether or not they were located in Green Square or outside Green Square. There was a particular Green Square specific view; there was a view more widely held by those not located within Green Square; and there was a view by some within the community.

At the end of the day, the government had applied and determined a budget for this particular upgrade and consulted on an upgrade consistent with the budget that was provided. It was not, and never was, in the context of the budget, and in relation to the upgrade, the government’s intention that potable water would be applied through an inground irrigation system to irrigate grass in Green Square. The government entered negotiations for consultation and discussion on that basis. It was a decision made for two reasons. One was budgetary and the other, and more interestingly, particularly in relation to the Greens party attitude on this issue, was around the sustained and appropriate use of a very rare and valuable resource—water—and an equity issue.

It is interesting to me—I have not done a late count—that there are in excess of 80 shopping centres in the ACT. Except for patches of grass that are watered, I think two or three shopping centres additionally or historically have irrigation. That irrigation, as I have explained previously, is now being maintained simply to keep alive trees that have become dependent over the decades on a ready supply of water. One such place is Ainslie Avenue, across the road from the Assembly. That grass is irrigated. That grass is irrigated on the basis of horticultural advice that if we do not water the grass, the trees will not be watered and each of the London plane trees in Ainslie Avenue would die. Similarly, with the Lawns at Manuka, we water the grass for the sole purpose of keeping the plane trees alive, not to keep the grass irrigated or alive.

We have changed our attitude and philosophy in the eighth year of this drought, and being mindful of climate change and the rarity and value of water, and around a straight, I believe, and simple issue of equity. If we, today, put inground irrigation into Green Square and used potable water to keep the grass growing in Green Square, on what basis would the government then, on representations from active members of this Assembly, deny that same facility to the other 80 shopping centres that have no irrigated grass?

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question?

MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Stanhope, what communication did you have with ACTPLA regarding the Kingston master planning process, and were residents informed as part of that consultation process that Green Square would not in fact have a lawn, for the reasons you have just outlined?

MR STANHOPE: I do not think I have had any contact with ACTPLA in relation to the master plan. The master plan process has not been completed. It is a statutory process. The responsible minister is the Minister for Planning. But even in that event I am not sure that the Minister for Planning—I do not know; I do not speak for the Minister for Planning.

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