St Clair Land Swap

24 Jul 2013 archivespeech

A speech in relation to the Private Members' motion regarding St Clair Land Swap.

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. J.M.A. Lensink:

1.That a select committee of the Legislative Council be established to inquire into and report on all aspects of the St Clair land swap including but not limited to—

(a) All previous and current decisions of the Charles Sturt council on this matter, including the vote to request the state government to dedicate this land as a memorial park;
(b) The findings of the Ombudsman's Report on the St Clair Land Swap Investigation, including matters of conflict of interest;

(c) The significant amount of land lost to roads in the land swap, and reduction of open space;

(d) The advice provided and sought by council on the area of open space available to the community before and after the land swap;

(e) The communications between council, prospective developers and the state government; and

(f)  Any other relevant matter.

2.That standing order 389 be so far suspended as to enable the chairperson of the committee to have a deliberative vote only.

3.That this council permits the select committee to authorise the disclosure or publication, as it sees fit, of any evidence or documents presented to the committee prior to such evidence being presented to the council.

4.That standing order 396 be suspended to enable strangers to be admitted when the select committee is examining witnesses unless the committee otherwise resolves, but they shall be excluded when the committee is deliberating.

(Continued from 19 June 2013.)

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (20:01): I will be brief. I made a number of comments when I moved this motion and also referred readers of Hansard to the excellent contribution of the Hon. David Ridgway in a motion he moved earlier this year. I would like to thank the Hon. Russell Wortley and the Hon. Mark Parnell for their contributions and also thank the crossbenchers, all of whom have actually indicated support for this motion, so I am sure the President will take that into account when he calls the vote.


Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! I will come to order!

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I would also like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of Her Worship Kirsten Alexander, who is here to hear what we have to say. There has been a lot said about this issue. This committee is about transparency. The TODs were used as an excuse. They are not quite so much in vogue, so we do not seem to hear so much about them. I am not too sure what is happening with some of the rail plans.

All those things have probably proven to be on the scrap heap, along with the prisons project and a whole range of other things this government has talked about and had front-page headlines on and then not gone ahead with. I think that the comments of the government member who spoke against this motion (Hon. Russell Wortley), describing it as being 'done to death', demonstrates that the ALP just does not get it.

The Hon. S.G. Wade: They don't care about their own seats.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: That's right—the Hon. Mr Wade gets it. The Labor Party thinks it can take the western suburbs for granted, and not just that—it can use them as a pawn. That particular council, the City of Charles Sturt, has been long manipulated by the member for Croydon in a disgraceful way. The current Premier made comments as an election promise that 'only a Labor government will save Cheltenham', and we have seen how false that is.

The Labor Party thinks it can take these people for granted. I think that the election of Kirsten Alexander as mayor demonstrates that the community has a very strong opinion on this and will not lie down. That council was out of touch. I think it is unfortunately still out of touch, with the majority of elected members continuing to be supported by a faction of the Labor Party. It is certainly a government that is out of touch.

There needs to be greater transparency in this process and in an ongoing manner. We have had the Ombudsman's report and the Ombudsman had some very strong things to say about conflicts of interest and those sorts of things, but it is still going on. The Hon. Mark Parnell referred to the DPA for the Woodville west railway station, and that really is a euphemism because even the title was not transparent. There are some sticky fingers all over this process and all over the ongoing matters with it. A select committee would be able to call for a range of evidence, summon witnesses and so forth. We do hope to uncover some of the activities that have been going on, which the community still remains incredibly concerned about. I endorse this motion to the parliament.

Motion carried.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (20:06): I move:

That the select committee consist of the Hon. D.W. Ridgway, the Hon. M.C. Parnell, the Hon. K.J. Maher, the Hon. R.P. Wortley and the mover.

Motion carried.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I move:

That the select committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to adjourn from place to place and to report on 27 November 2013.

Motion carried.