Debates Day 2 - Tuesday 20 April 2016
Parliamentary Record 28
Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 20 April 2016 8142 arrogance is creeping into government in its dying months. This is a matter of public importance. The Chan Building is an iconic building in the heart of State Square. We should debate in parliament the future of the State Square area, its use, and whether an iconic building is dramatically changed beyond recognition currently the government plan or is removed, as proposed in previous Labor government plans. I have the 2006 plans here which provide for no Chan Building, and sight lines from the old town hall ruins through to Government House and out into the harbour, which I believe the member for Nelson referred to. These are all considerations. I had a view when I was Lands and Planning minister, which was different to the 2006 Labor view. I like the Chan Building and would like to see it remain as is. I am one of those old Darwin people who do not want to see every building I have grown up with removed or changed beyond recognition. The Chan Building is a symbol of my childhood and a representation of old government buildings architecture. It is also an historic site, as parliament was run from there when the old Legislative Assembly building was damaged beyond its use and function and had to be raised. The old Legislative Assembly shifted to the Chan Building. For me, that building is important. I would hate to see it altered as per the proposed CLP government plans. I believe today they are backing out of it to an extent. I thank them for that as it will give us time to adequately consider use of the site. Is it to be raised or stay as it is externally in keeping with its history? They are genuine considerations. I understand the thinking around its removal and opening up of State Square to allow the sight lines between the historic old town hall and the beautiful buildings of the Supreme Court and Parliament House. I understand the town planning considerations and design. I have a strong personal view that the Chan Building represents so much of our history. The architecture of those old government buildings that sat beside it has disappeared. There used to be a row of them and they are gone. The only one left standing is the Chan Building. My father was a senior public servant. He started as a junior and went through the ranks to become a senior in the era of long white socks held up with elastic bands, sandals and shorts. As a child I would visit my dad in the government office buildings that sat alongside the Chan Building. I hold those memories, but I cannot talk about what Darwin was like then. If we remove everything Darwin was I point out the Chan Building to my children and grandchildren and say, A row of buildings looked like this. This is where government was run from when we were administered by the Commonwealth. It is our history. I do not know who has sought heritage listing but I am glad they have. The practical side the government has not been honest, open or transparent about is what sits below the ground. The hub of the government computer is below the ground. The figures have probably changed, but there would be no change from $30m to relocate what is in the Chan Building. To most people this building looks like an old empty relic because the CLP, in its infinite lack of wisdom, decided to stop it being an art gallery. People think it is a shell of a building when it is really running government through its computer networks and systems underground. I do not understand it because I am not a computer whiz and did not experience working from that building like the member for Daly or the former Chief Minister, Paul Henderson. As a former minister I know there is enough money involved in relocating what is in the Chan Building to make it reasonably fiscally prohibitive. The CLP promises all types of strange and wonderful things which are not delivered and this is one of them. Lets build this amazing maybe we can call it Giles Tower phallic symbol to the Giles era and the CLP government. Mr STYLES: A point of order, Madam Speaker! Standing Order 31. I ask the member for Karama to withdraw the comment relating to a symbol. Ms LAWRIE: If he finds it offensive I withdraw it. Many tall buildings are referred to architecturally that way. It was not a personal reference, but if you find it offensive so be it. Giles Tower, a tall edifice representative of the soon to be departing CLP government. It is a vision and dream not realised, just like the vision and dream for the dirty port or the chest beating when things were not realised. Not one extra cent from the Commonwealth for infrastructure funding in the Territory was delivered by the Giles government. It has been a joke. Fortunately the member for Nelson did not see the Chan Building redevelopment as a joke but as something of great concern. He listened to architectural advice and has brought the matter of public importance before us. If there is light at the end of the tunnel because the building has a heritage listing application that
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