Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 August 2015) . . Page.. 2693 ..
throughout the process may well have been merely a pawn in a wider determination over the best deal for Manuka Oval, but in not standing up for one of her schools she has lost enormous credibility. I would not wish to repeat some of the angry comments and commentary on her performance by callers and in some of the emails and letters. While thanking the contributors to the debate,
I note the absence throughout this whole motion of the minister for education, whose portfolio responsibility is one of the main points of discussion in this motion. Ms Burch’s dedication to her portfolio should be well and truly noted by the community and the education community. The compromising position that the principal of Telopea Park School was put in by being forced to stay mute on the land grab had the potential to lose her the respect and support of the parent community. It should not have occurred and, again, the education minister has to answer for that.
The Mocca community, faced with little option at one stage other than to declare bankruptcy and close up shop, should not have been put in a position where it started to lose clients and live with an uncertain financial future. Information exchanged via media should not have occurred. Blaming the whole land swap arrangements on the desire of the Services Club to rebuild was not fair and, as I understand, not accurate. They had every right to expect they could have a new building on their old site, and there is no real explanation as to why that cannot occur.
We all suspect it is because of the Chief Minister’s grand plan for Manuka, but why is it such a secret? Why does the minister not communicate with the community? Why does he not communicate with the Assembly? Where and how will Defence Housing Australia build their apartments? How many storeys and what location is not known, but lots of limitations have been unfairly attributed to DHA without any opportunity for them to defend what they are prepared to do and share. That also should not have occurred.
Yet again, this whole sorry and distressing saga could have been avoided with a more open and honest approach by government to the electors of Canberra and, more specifically, to the south side community, the education community of Telopea Park School, the Mocca parents, friends and teachers. They have been put through considerable trauma. We are just starting to see how nervous the Griffith community is because, yet again, another community has learned via media that a childcare centre might be coming to their shopping centre. No detail, no consultation, no explanation—just another limp defence by the Chief Minister that unfortunately governments have to make hard decisions. Yes, they do, Chief Minister, have to make decisions, but they also have a duty to the community to work with them, to explain, to tell them what the situation is and to hear their response. They owe that respect and obligation to the electors of Molonglo at this point.
The government time after time, suburb after suburb, development after development fails to do such—any consultation. All of us in this place are here because people in the community have voted us in. We owe them respect and we have a duty to consult with them. We owe them the opportunity to voice their concerns, their wishes and their directions to this government. That is our job. We owe them the chance to put their case. That chance was denied to the Telopea Park School community. It was