Page 3322 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.54): I would like to start by commending Mr Wall for bringing this motion to this place today on behalf of the residents of Uriarra. He has articulated the case very well, in my view, and it is a reasonable case. The case that Mr Wall has made is based on legitimate concerns of the community. It has been argued convincingly, and I commend him. It is based on a lot of hard work that he has done in the community. This is what it means to be a good local member and be in touch with the community. That is what we are here to do. Ultimately, we are here to be representatives of our community, and he has done that today.

It is great, Madam Speaker, to see the residents of Uriarra here. It is fair to say that the gallery is not often full. It is only when there is an issue of great importance to the community that we will see these numbers come in. It is clear that this is a matter of great importance to the people that live in Uriarra. The decisions made in this place today are going to have a profound effect on the lives of people in this gallery today and their friends and family that live in Uriarra. We have a great responsibility to make sure that the decisions that we make in this place are the right ones.

Ultimately, we have a decision to make here. The Liberals have a view that, based on the arguments as articulated by Mr Wall, the people of Uriarra are right; that they have a legitimate case. The case is that the solar farm should not be built on their doorstep. We are of that view. There has been a lot of debate about planning rules, regulations, DA processes and call-in powers, but the nub of this issue goes to point (2)(b) in Mr Wall’s motion—that is:

ensure the project does not proceed at the current location;

That is a very simple statement. That is what the people of Uriarra want us to decide today. It is a simple thing for this Assembly to decide on. This is about leadership. The minister and Mr Rattenbury have made some mealy-mouthed comments about the process because they are not prepared to stand up in this place and make a decision.

What we have seen from the minister is a failure to acknowledge that he has got this wrong. I think he would earn much more respect in the community if, instead of making passionless, emotionless speeches blinded by ideology about the planning process, he actually got to the nub of the issue and realised that he has made a bad decision. If he acknowledged that, if he accepted that and if he supported Mr Wall’s motion, he would earn a lot more respect from the people of Uriarra and more broadly from the community. There is a reason why Mr Corbell struggles to get two per cent of the vote in his electorate. That is because he does not at any stage, at any time, make any attempt to have any degree of empathy with the people he purports to represent.

What we have seen from Mr Rattenbury is a pattern of behaviour in this place also, and that is his desire to walk both sides of the fence. Ultimately, you have got to make a decision. Mr Rattenbury needs to make a decision and it is here before him. Is he going to squib this? Is he going to come up with some mealy-mouthed pretence that he is concerned? Well, he is not.

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