Page 650 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 9 March 2011

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I think it is risky to have that kind of clause in a motion. I think we should be very cautious about supporting such a motion. I have got no issue with community gardens, but I do have a problem with the ACT government overextending into the space and perhaps taking the initiative away from communities and putting it into the hands of bureaucrats or legislators. With your indulgence, Mr Speaker, and that of the Assembly, I seek a moment to review this amendment or ask that you call upon another speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Given the late circulation of the amendment, I ask whether there are any other members who wish to speak.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.10): Mr Speaker, on the subject of community gardens, I concur with the remarks made by Mr Coe about the important role community gardens play, and I will reflect on some of the comments of Ms Le Couteur about that important role. But in doing so, I think we need to keep in mind that—to repeat Mr Coe’s dictum—community gardens should be organic in all ways. I have a real concern about setting up government structures to cause these ventures to go forward spontaneously. I am also concerned about the amendment proposed by Mr Stanhope, because I think that there is nothing more guaranteed to kill off community gardening than an interdepartmental committee to look at the issue.

The dead hand of government would be a herbicide of considerable proportions in the area of community gardens. While there are good intentions in this motion, I have to agree with Mr Coe that we need to be careful not to bruise the delicate flower we have created.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (5.11), by leave: It will be very hard to continue the theme Mrs Dunne has established, but having looked at the amendment, I think I can say the opposition will support it.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (5.12): While I have great sympathy for Mrs Dunne’s views about the herbicidal qualities of interagency working groups—that was a very nice touch, Mrs Dunne—given that the government has, it says, already established an interagency working group, it would probably be both polite and politic to let it consider what should be done. While we would not have moved this amendment, we will not oppose it.

Amendment agreed to.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (5.13): I would like to reflect on some of the comments other members have made. Firstly, I would like to thank you all for your support for the concept of community gardens and the importance and joy and love of gardening. It is great to hear everyone saying that. Mr Stanhope and I—and I think possibly Mr Coe—also recognise that COGS, the current structure, are stretched. They are very clear that their model has got as big as it can with their current administrative arrangements, and something needs to change. That is one of the major reasons why I brought forward this motion.

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