Independent Senate Candidate for the ACT, Anthony Pesec, has bought in to the row over the proposed development of West Basin on Lake Burley Griffin, saying he will push for a parliamentary inquiry if elected on 18 May.
Mr Pesec called for a halt to planning for apartment development at West Basin, throwing his support behind the Guardians of Lake Burley Griffin, who have opposed ACT Government plans to reclaim part of the lake and develop the area.
Government plans to redevelop West Basin into a residential, business and recreational precinct are moving ahead with the City Renewal Authority seeking a consultant to devise a development plan for the key lakeside area.
The Authority has already flagged the possibility of 2000 apartments as part of a major reshaping of West Basin into a waterfront community connected to the city, and tender documents describe the area as ‘unique’ in terms of the Indicative Land Release Program and Government revenue opportunities.
“Public meeting after public meeting has called for an end to this ill-judged proposal to fill in part of the Lake, one of the most recognisable and loved features of our national capital. Yet the ACT Government and the National Capital Authority press on regardless,” Mr Pesec said.
He took aim at his opponents in the main parties – Liberal Senator Zed Seselja and former Labor senator Katy Gallagher – for not doing anything to address community concern about the West Basin plans, which he said would severely degrade the environmental, heritage and social values of Lake Burley Griffin.
“The incoming Federal Government should immediately approve the heritage listing of Lake Burley Griffin and its landscape setting to ensure the permanent protection of the lake shores from projects like West Basin which are little more than a blatant revenue grab by the ACT Government,” Mr Pesec said.
“The Kingston Foreshore development is an example of what can happen when commercial interests prevail over good planning. Our national capital values must never again be traded away for short term budgetary gain.”
Mr Pesec said he recently met with the Guardians and was impressed with their commitment to the Lake and its importance to Canberra’s status as a planned city of world renown.
“I support the Guardians’ call for a review of West Basin planning with community involvement,” he said.
Mr Pesec said that if elected to the Senate on 18 May he would press for an inquiry into West Basin by the Federal parliamentary committee on the National Capital and External Territories.