Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 30 November 2017) . . Page.. 5362 ..

Since their establishment in 2015, the Guardians have undertaken a number of activities to raise awareness of the importance of the lake, including detailed submissions and responses on any activity that impacts on the lake or its environs. They work hard to raise awareness of their activities through numerous community engagement initiatives and by lobbying ACT and federal parliamentarians.

Their mission is to “support development that serves the needs of all the Lake’s users but also retains and improves the social, aesthetic and ecological values of the Lake and lakeshore landscape setting”, and they strive for a national heritage listing as the most suitable protection from adverse impacts.

The Guardians believe the aesthetic and ecological qualities of the lake and its lakeshore landscape, cherished by locals and visitors, is being incrementally diminished by successive developments and modified land use practice which do not necessarily have protection of the lake as a priority. The Guardians acknowledge that some development and transformation is good—and, in some cases, necessary—and, indeed, they have spoken to me previously about the need for improvements to the landscape around the lake, because their core belief is that the lake is a community asset which should be accessible to every Canberran.

I first met the Guardians in October last year. It was one week before the ACT election. They held a historic walk and barbecue on a gorgeous Canberra day with the lively beats of the Tanamasi West African percussion ringing through the air. It was at that time that I first became acquainted with the Guardians and their dedication to protect Lake Burley Griffin.

As passionate advocates for the lake, they have been disappointed at the lack of consultation and dialogue with them about the future of what they treasure most. This is why, earlier this year, as one of their many activities, they decided to petition the Assembly to keep open this dialogue and consultation on the planned development of West Basin.

While the government may claim it has undertaken consultation on this project, the fact is that it virtually ceased in 2015—funnily enough, around the same time the Guardians were established—and since that time there has been a series of changes and amendments that have had little opportunity for public input. Those changes have included community facilities such as the convention centre, stadium and pool being reduced or removed entirely, while the construction of apartments is to go ahead unabated. It has been likened to an episode of Utopia, and it makes any suggestion of open government a little dubious.

It is unacceptable that the government has embarked on a course of action to develop a natural icon of Canberra, a national icon of this country, and in doing so has repeatedly altered the proposal while failing to adequately consult with stakeholders. It is unacceptable that the government has not been open and inviting of debate on this topic.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video