Page 321 - Week 01 - Thursday, 12 February 2015

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It is the most visionary, bold step that an ACT government has taken for a long time, perhaps in all the years of self-government. I am pleased to be part of this government today that is able to deliver on this vision for Canberra. My decision-making on this bill has been careful and considered. I am confident these proposed changes will not do the community any disservice nor will the changes detrimentally impact the integrity of the planning system.

I want to add that this seems to be in contrast to the Liberal Party’s position, which is an automatic and shrill opposition and is certainly designed to provoke opposition to light rail by unnecessarily worrying the community. This fact becomes very obvious when we look at the Liberal Party’s previous history on these matters. Members may remember that the Labor government passed the Gungahlin Drive Extension Authorisation Bill in 2004 with the support of the Liberal Party. That bill was considerably different to the one before us today. That bill basically gave the minister complete power to make any decisions in regard to the Gungahlin Drive extension, removed the ability to object and gave no real criteria to guide that decision-making. The Liberal Party supported that bill.

When considering the much more reasonable bill before the Assembly today, the Liberal Party is outraged. It is quite clear to me that the outrage is not based on principle but, rather, is based on a political campaign strategy to oppose and to undermine light rail. That is what this is really about, because in 2004 it suited them fine to have a far more draconian piece of legislation put through, but a piece of legislation like this today—

Mr Coe interjecting—

MR RATTENBURY: I note that Mr Coe’s level of interjection increases when he gets uncomfortable. This piece of legislation today is far more reasonable. It is far less draconian than the legislation the Liberal Party was happy to support in 2004. This simply underlines their political opportunism and the fact that they are willing to whip up fear in the community to serve their end of trying to oppose light rail for the future of this city. I will be supporting this bill before us today.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (5.24), in reply: I thank members for their comments during today’s debate. I am pleased to support the Planning and Development (Capital Metro) Legislation Amendment Bill 2014. As we are aware, this bill was presented to the Assembly on 27 November 2014. The bill is an integral component of the government’s program for the timely delivery of the first stage of the light rail system from Gungahlin to the city. It is also integral to the extension of the light rail to further areas.

I note that the scrutiny of bills committee commented on the bill in its scrutiny report 27 of 3 February this year. I confirm I have responded to the committee in my letter dated 9 February. In my response I noted also that the committee indicated via footnote that the explanatory statement incorrectly refers to appeal rights in the

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