Page 3663 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 23 October 2013
uncovered, and the response back actually recommended that we not agree to the Kingston traders’ proposal, and a letter was drafted accordingly. Again, my reading of the Kingston traders’ proposal was that it was reasonable, but because I was receiving different advice from the directorate I needed to discuss with the minister responsible his own views on that before I changed the letter of response quite significantly. When it was made clear that Shane Rattenbury was very agreeable to the proposal as it was outlined, I was in a position to respond to the Kingston traders, and that occurred yesterday.
That is just a long-winded explanation of what happened. I apologise; it should not have happened. I try to respond to people within two weeks, but I did not in this circumstance. Nonetheless, it is a debate that is welcome in the parliament, and it is appropriate that we talk about it today.
The government will put in place a process to work with the Kingston traders around a timetable for those changes to occur and what needs to happen. There will be issues of costs and how those are managed. I note that the offer from the Kingston traders is basically to cover the costs of replacing the material and a levy for ongoing maintenance. Obviously that will take time to work through, so we need to work out who is doing what and how to proceed. I do not think that is insurmountable and, as Minister Rattenbury explained, I have asked Fay Steward in the TAMS directorate to be the contact for the traders in that regard.
I look forward to being briefed on how this is progressing. When we go back and have a look at the history of what led to the decision, we were operating in very different times. But part of our job, as I said yesterday during the marriage equality debate, is to look at what is happening today and make sure what is happening today is current with community needs and expectations. That is why I am very happy to support this motion with the amendment today.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.28): It was not my intention to speak today, but now we have seen this welcome backflip from the government I want to rise in this place to congratulate Mr Doszpot on forcing this issue and the traders for their activism on this issue over a period of time. It seems Mr Doszpot has had some success in this place with getting the government to backflip on a number of issues—sports grounds, disability services in schools and, most notably, when he quite literally saved the Shepherd Centre, a very important facility for people with hearing disabilities. I congratulate Mr Doszpot on his quiet achievements that will make a big difference to people’s lives and, in this case, to the businesses at Kingston.
This should never have occurred. The businesses were quite vocal in 2010, we were vocal in 2010. I spoke at that stage to a number of the traders who were quite willing to join with the government to make sure that the grass stayed at Green Square. It was evident that this was a very poor decision. It was talked of in this place, as Mr Rattenbury highlighted, by Caroline Le Couteur. She raised this as an issue, but it was ignored by the government and the government steamrolled ahead. Those warnings have proved to be correct and we have a situation where Green Square is going to be essentially restored back to what should have been left there in the first place.