Page 2898 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015

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raised about the draft variation in a content sense. I think it is fair to say that we have come in here today—and we know that the Liberal Party oppose light rail and have made that abundantly clear in this place, and therefore they oppose this variation per se because it is attached to that project—and we have not heard a single reason really that there are particular problems with this, outside that broad opposition.

In that sense I think we can proceed with variation 327, and I am certainly supportive of the variation because what it does is provide a series of clarifying definitions for light rail and associated key infrastructure in the territory plan, as Mr Gentleman said when he introduced this. It removes uncertainties about the permissibility of light rail and it goes to some of those technical matters. It does not permit light rail. It does not sign the project off. That is a separate process. But what this does is put a range of the technical considerations in place, and I think that is an appropriate thing to do, given the various planning steps that have been put in place to proceed with light rail.

When it comes to variation 347, related to the University of Canberra, again I have made my comments on that issue in this place before. I think the proposals put forward by the University of Canberra offer an exciting vision for the university, and I think that this Assembly giving the university the opportunity to undertake some of those initiatives gives the university the best possible opportunity to grow, to compete, to be a centre of excellence and to be an important part of the university sector here in the ACT.

On the actual territory plan variation, again if we look at the content of that one, I understand that the territory plan variation received seven submissions during its consultation phase and that the variation that has come to the Assembly has responded to a range of those issues that were raised during that submission process. For example, there has been a recognition that there needs to be a limit for non-university-related offices of 30,000 square metres for the site. This, combined with the criterion that requires demonstration of material impact of these types of developments on the Belconnen town centre, will mean that we will not see an unfair or an unbalanced competition to the Belconnen town centre.

It is quite clear that the university has a different vision of what one might expect to take place in the town centre. And of course I am interested that the Liberal Party are taking this position. They have never raised their voices once in being critical of the airport, which has far more office space than this and is a complete distortion of the planning of this city in terms of all the things that have been allowed to be built out there. But we have never heard a word about that, despite the vast amount of development that has gone in that area.

In fact I do remember the one time I had a conversation with Terry Snow about these things—and I was out there after they had opened a new office building and they had offered members an opportunity to come by and have a look at the environmental developments—Terry Snow said to me, “What do you think?” I said to him, “I actually think the buildings are really fantastic, and if you had built them in Gungahlin I would be your biggest fan in Canberra.”

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