The ACT Greens have attacked the ACT Government over its in-principle support for a new Australian War Memorial car park atop a nature reserve — without first considering environment or heritage concerns, or consultation with the community.
The Greens say they are shocked and dismayed at reports that Transport Canberra and City Services Minister Chris Steel had told AWM Director Brendan Nelson in a letter in May that the Government was ‘supportive’ of the proposal to build a temporary car park and construction compound in Remembrance Nature Park at the foot of Mt Ainslie.
The car park proposal is part of the proposed $498 million expansion of the Memorial, which the Greens oppose.
The Greens targeted Mr Steel in Question Time in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, with ACT Greens Planning spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur asking him when there would be any community consultation on the proposal.
Mr Steel did not directly address the question, saying TCCCS had requested additional analysis of heritage and environmental impacts and that any development proposal from the AWM would require community consultation as part of the approvals process.
“It’s staggering and disappointing that the ACT Government will say they are supportive of the proposed arrangements without first undertaking any environment studies of the nature reserve,” Ms Le Couteur said.
“Canberrans would be dismayed to hear that the Government has acted in this manner, without consultation, and decided – of its own accord – to allow a nature reserve to be cleared for more parking spaces.
“As the Government looks to achieve zero net emissions by 2045 at the latest, it’s even more disappointing that the Government is offering in-principle support for new car parks, at the expense of our nature reserves.”
In an answer to a question from Opposition Leader Alistair Coe, Mr Steel said the car park had in-principle support subject to consideration of heritage and environmental impacts.