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Wednesday, 3 October 1984
Page: 1494

Mr RUDDOCK —by leave-The speed with which the honourable member for Canberra (Mrs Kelly) delivered the statement and the nature of these reports are such that I imagine many honourable members and honourable senators, Ministers in particular, are unlikely to wade through them and find the salient points. In one respect, while the report which relates to the seventy-eighth series is one which was supported by the whole of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory, including me, one matter may be of interest to honourable members insofar as access to the new and permanent Parliament House is concerned . The effect of the decision of the Committee is to preclude direct access from Melbourne Avenue, particularly to the executive area of new Parliament House. It is designed in such a way as to minimise the amount of traffic that is likely to use the residential streets in that part of the city. But its impact is such that, if any parliamentarians, Ministers or other persons, including perhaps the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke), en route from the Lodge, were seeking to use Melbourne Avenue, they would not be able to obtain direct access to Parliament House but would have to complete a circuit of State Circle before they could turn into what would be the entrance off Melbourne Avenue. I think that is an important matter that honourable members should be aware of. I have no objection to it but it may well be, if honourable members have an interest in it, that they should make their views otherwise known and take a greater interest in the reports of the Australian Capital Territory Committee than they might otherwise do.

The second matter I would like to address really arises in the eighty-third series and relates to the variation of road additions to the suburb of Florey. I emphasise the importance of this development because it is novel in Canberra. It is novel because the Florey development is to be undertaken by the Housing Industry Association under a deed of land development with the National Capital Development Commission. In effect, it is a private sector subdivision in Canberra. Although the private sector is bound to build homes on the land that is purchased as part of this package the fact of the matter is that the amount of money that will be expended by the private sector in bringing this development on train ensures that further moneys are available to undertake other land development projects in Canberra.

It is a worthwhile initiative and I have commended it. It should have been undertaken earlier. Notwithstanding objections that we heard to the concept of private sector development in Canberra, the fact that moneys were required to be released for other purposes meant that this project was undertaken in this way. There are a number of other projects-one involving the Master Builders Association and another involving the Australian Gas Light Co.-that are also to be undertaken on the same basis. The fact that we have evidence from the National Capital Development Commission in the report in favour of private sector land development I think is very worth while. I certainly hope that when projects of this sort are suggested in the future there will not be any knee- jerk reactions on the part of what will then be the Labor Opposition to private sector developments in the national capital. This project has established the principle and the desirability of the principle.

I would like to mention briefly one other matter. There is a proposal to forgo certain road reservations in Narrabundah to enable the leasing of a caretaker's cottage associated with the Narrabundah Oval to the Aboriginal Corporation for Sporting and Recreational Activities. There are provisions requiring the Aboriginal Corporation for Sporting and Recreational Activities to accept responsibility for the maintenance of this oval and to ensure that it is in a satisfactory form for a variety of purposes, particularly sub-leasing purposes. I understand that this oval is being made available to the Aboriginal Corporation on the same basis as other ovals in the Australian Capital Territory for sporting organisations are made available for sporting organisations on a home ground basis. It is important to note the reference in the report to the fact that the Department of Territories and Local Government assured the Committee that the Aboriginal Development Commission provided the necessary guarantees that the Aboriginal Corporation would be able to meet the costs of rental and undertake its obligations in relation to the leasing. I simply point that out for the benefit of honourable members.

When the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory tabled its report on the Murrumbidgee River I was away in Sydney for the day and was unable to respond on behalf of the Opposition. When the report was tabled in another place , mention was made of the fact that the Chairman of the Committee, the honourable member for Fraser (Mr Fry), would retire at the end of this Parliament, that he had served as Chairman of the Committee for the duration of this Parliament and that he had been a member of the Committee for a long period . On behalf of the Opposition, I take this opportunity-even though the honourable member for Fraser is not present-simply to record my appreciation for the way in which he has undertaken his duties as Chairman. I commend him for his outstanding work as a member of the Committee. I found it a pleasure to work with somebody who had a real involvement in the city and a concern for the environment. On many issues we have found that we have a great deal in common. It has brought us together in a very positive and worthwhile way, working for the benefit of Canberra.

I want to inject a very positive note on the work of the honourable member for Fraser. Unfortunately it is not the same commendation that I have been giving recently to his aspirant successor, Mr Langmore, because I regret to say that notwithstanding the high standards of the present member for Fraser it appears that the Australian Labor Party is resorting to the worst Tammany Hall practices involving the Public Service in Canberra in providing campaigning facilities and opportunities for a candidate. This deserves to be condemned to the greatest possible degree.