Page 2892 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015

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Many people have concerns about the University of Canberra proposal and also the capital metro proposal. This government have highlighted in this place the very concerns people have with regard to these variations and giving the government even more power. They are a tricky government and a dishonest government. They are a government that people cannot trust. Their actions in this place after lunchtime today demonstrate that. Their actions to bring about a disallowance to their own variation shows just how desperate this government are. It shows just how unwilling they are to comply with the Planning and Development Act, or the spirit thereof, and also with the wishes of the community.

What concerns does this government have with regard to debating this motion in September? There are six sitting days in September, and there can be a five-day process for moving the disallowance. We have given notice and we have five days. This government will not even allow that process to be carried out, so how can people trust a government with regard to capital metro or the University of Canberra when they cannot be trusted to comply with the spirit of their own legislation in the Planning and Development Act 2007?

We have real concerns with the capital metro proposal and the University of Canberra proposal. With regard to territory plan variations 347 and 327, Mr Gentleman came into my office at 1.30 today and said, “Just letting you know that we’ll be moving to bring on the debate for the variation disallowances.” And I said, “Okay, you can do that, but we won’t be supporting it.” That is exactly what we have done—we are not supporting that process. I also said, “You run the risk of being perceived to be tricky.” And I believe that is playing out right now. The perception—I believe the accurate perception—is that this government is a tricky government.

They are a tricky government that are far more interested in their own grandiose plans than they are in the best interests of Canberrans. That was certainly top of mind in November of 2012 when they did the agreement with the single Greens member in this place, an agreement that had collateral both on that side and in the broader community. But they did not consider that; it was all about them. And that is what today’s demonstration shows us—it is all about a tricky government that are trying to get around the rules to promote their own pet projects.

Our main problem with the University of Canberra proposal is that it will undermine the town centre. It is a proposal that will undermine people who have just bought apartments in Belconnen or people who are investing in Belconnen. The Belconnen master plan specifically stopped at the University of Canberra; it did not go beyond Aikman Drive because that was separate and it was not going to affect the Belconnen town centre. Now we hear there will be up to 2,500, 3,000, 3,500, 4,000—who knows how man—dwellings that will end up on the University of Canberra site.

One thing is for sure: if you bought an apartment in the Belconnen town centre you should be very, very worried because this government are bringing out tremendous risk to property in the ACT when they can develop land on a whim without lease variation charge, without the multi-unit development code and without many other restrictions that every other builder has to comply with. This government seem to think it is okay because it is their pet project.

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