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kunanyi / Mount Wellington Cable Car

3 May 2018

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for STATE GROWTH, Mr GUTWEIN

Can you confirm statements made by the proponents of the Mount Wellington cable car to South Hobart residents that:

“The meeting that we wanted to hold generally for South Hobart residents we wanted to do it last year and the Government was saying, 'Just hold.'”

That is Adrian Bold. Also from Mr Bold at the same meeting:

All the advice was 'just hold' and let us get the legislation sorted and reluctantly we had to.

That legislation was the Cable Car Facilitation Bill introduced by the Liberals and supported by Labor late last year. A further quote from that meeting, attributed to Jude Franks.

We were asked by the Government to actually keep our media activity on this quiet.

Isn't this part of a deliberate strategy to keep up a single, highly controversial, private development and keep people in the dark just as the Treasurer did by signing the approval for drilling and exploratory works on the pinnacle of kunanyi two days, in secret, before the election was called?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I would like to make a point that we believe a cable car on the mountain is a good idea. We believe it is broadly supported. We believe it will bring economic benefits to this city. In terms of any discussions that occurred prior to the legislation being passed, I was not party to those discussions.

Ms O'Connor - Are you denying that that was what the Liberals said?

Mr GUTWEIN - How can I either confirm or deny something I was not a party to? Let's be clear.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. There are forms in this House. When the minister does not have the information available now he can commit to bringing back to the House at the earliest opportunity.

Mr GUTWEIN - I was not a party to any conversations so I am not in a position to confirm nor deny. I make the point that the legislation that was passed, the facilitation act, is not project nor proponent specific.

Ms O'Connor - Go on say it; with a straight face.

Mr GUTWEIN - It is not project nor proponent specific. All it does is enable a proponent to come forward if they meet the necessary requirements to be granted landowner consent to submit a DA so that the project can be considered through the full planning process.

Ms O'Connor - You told the proponents to pull their heads in.

Mr GUTWEIN - It does not matter what I say on this: the fact that I was not the minister at the time is obviously going to be of no consequence or interest to the member.

You then went on to say that the authority was granted in secret.

Ms O'Connor - Two days before the election was called.

Mr GUTWEIN - The legislation was passed by this place and it was passed by the upper House.

Mr Bacon - It wasn't project or proponent specific.

Mr GUTWEIN - That side of the House supported the bill and their members supported it in the upper House. The act is not project nor proponent specific. Anybody -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order. Standing order 45 goes to relevance, Madam Speaker. There was a question in there that was specific and related to whether there was a level of collusion or conspiracy between the proponent and the government of the day on keeping the issue quiet before the election.

Mr FERGUSON - On the point of order, what is happening here is the member for Denison is attempting to school you -

Members interjecting.

Mr FERGUSON - I draw you attention to fact that the member is in fact debating her own question, which is against standing orders. She is trying to grandstand because she does not like the answer the Treasurer is providing her.

Madam SPEAKER - For the benefit of those in the gallery, this is the theatre of the House. It is not that I do not have control over it and that these ladies and gentleman are not well behaved normally, but this is where they get to have a rambunctious debate. Please allow indulgence, but I still ask that it be respectful and no accusations of impropriety.

Mr GUTWEIN - Thank you, Madam Speaker. I dealt with that matter of secrecy. I followed the act to the letter - an act which was passed by this place and the other place.

I want to raise another matter whilst I am on my feet. We have as a Government sought to be absolutely transparent. I have been advised this morning that the Wellington Park Management Trust has requested that the Mount Wellington Cable Car Company cease any preliminary works that they have undertaken on the mountain. The matter does concern me. Whilst I understand that the works are very minor - some surveyors' pegs and some surveyors' tape - the company is yet to satisfy the requirements of the authority that I issued then in relation to gaining an approved safety management plan. They do not hold a permit for this type of works under the trust.

I support the Wellington Park Management Trust fully in their request that any activity stop and any surveyors' markings are removed by midday today. I have asked the secretary of State Growth to contact the company this morning and express my concern at this circumstance and to ensure that they expeditiously act on the trust request. Further, as the project now appears to be different to that which I considered when granting the authority under the Cable Car Facilitation Act, I have requested advice as to whether the authority that I granted needs to be reconsidered, modified or rescinded. We have always said that proper process must be observed. There are rules to follow and we expect that those rules will be followed to the letter. I expect to have that advice in coming days and I will have more to say on the matter then.