Page 952 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2018
that it “puts the matter to bed”. The Sydney Morning Herald, amongst others, commented on this:
Planning Minister Mick Gentleman's declaration of nothing to see here after Thursday's audit report into the CFMEU land deal beggars belief … If that's how dismissively a government minister treats a report as damning as that from Auditor-General Maxine Cooper, the state of Canberra's democracy is dire … If Gentleman believes he can dismiss this as a report that “puts the matter to bed”, he needs a remedial course in probity and process.
Minister, do you maintain that a report that showed that a deal was pursued contrary to the government’s own legal advice and in contravention of its own laws puts the matter to bed?
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Lee for the question. Of course, my comments were in relation to the questions before me at the time, and I stand by those comments. I will say that the government has strong plans for section 72 in Dickson. The plan will address land uses, community services, place making, landscaping infrastructure and transport and active travel connections to the wider area. The first stage of community engagement is already underway with a range of methods being used to involve the community and exploring options—
Ms Lee: A point of order, Madam Speaker. Can I ask the minister to be relevant? The question is not asking what the plan is for that land; it is specifically asking about whether he still maintains that this report on the deal that was pursued contrary to the government’s own legal advice and to its laws puts the matter to bed. He has not answered that.
MADAM SPEAKER: I think he answered that in the first bit by referencing that to the questions he was being asked on the day, unless you want to clarify that, minister. Do you want to continue?
MR GENTLEMAN: Thank you, Madam Speaker. No, that is correct, and I want to go on to talk about the plans we have for section 72. The your say project page includes social pinpoint, an online mapping tool for community comments. There is also an information kiosk, and a government planning workshop was held in collaboration with the Community Services Directorate. Meet the planner sessions in conjunction with sessions for the draft city and gateway urban design framework were held in early March and were very popular, and EPSDD with CSD have met with the leaseholders who will remain on the site to discuss their aspirations and concerns for the future of section 72. You see, Madam Speaker, we are moving forward in improving that area and providing social housing for the north Canberra area. I think it is an important plan for the ACT.
MS LEE: Minister, do you maintain that a report that showed between $2.4 million and $2.65 million handed unnecessarily to the Tradies Club is a report that puts the matter to bed?
MR GENTLEMAN: I will stand by my earlier comments.