Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 730..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
The key problem is that the defined land provision provides no certainty for residents in that defined area as to what could be built next to them and no opportunity for them to influence such decisions. That is quite different from the situation in other suburbs. If some developer or the government want to build something there that is contrary to the Territory Plan, they would have to go through the normal plan variation process.
I can give a couple of examples. Last week in the Assembly I raised the problems that had arisen at Harcourt Hill. Residents were brought into the area because the original plans for the estate showed that certain parts of the estate, particularly Percival Ridge, would stay as open space. However, later they found that the plans for the estate had been altered under the defined land provisions without any public involvement and that some of the open space had been rezoned as residential land and the trees in those areas bulldozed.
Another example is Amaroo. People bought land along Burdekin Avenue in Amaroo about a year ago on the understanding from reading the Territory Plan that there would be housing over the road and behind that a large pond and park. However, they were recently told by PALM that over the road they will now have a preschool, two primary schools and a high school. Down the road will be a shopping centre. The pond has been shrunk and the open space will now be used as a sports ground.
These facilities were originally shown on the Territory Plan as being located in other parts of the suburbs and in the future adjacent suburb, but PALM decided to move them all to Burdekin Avenue. Because all this land is defined under the land act, there is no need for PALM to go through the normal Territory Plan variation process, so the residents cannot do anything to stop this change.
These residents believe that they have been totally misled by PALM. The residents recently found out from PALM that the change to the planning of this area was decided nearly three years ago, but the Territory Plan map was never updated to reflect this change. These residents would not have bought these blocks if they had known that they would be living opposite schools and having lots of traffic pass their doors. I understand that the Gungahlin Community Council is now supporting the residents' concerns and has called for a moratorium on development in this area until the plan for the area has been reviewed.
These examples highlight that the defined land provisions are leading to unaccountable planning decisions being made that are adversely affecting residents in the new areas of Canberra. I do not believe that the defined land provisions are leading to good planning, so I am proposing that they be deleted from the land act. If there is a need to make major changes to the zoning of a particular area, then it should go through the normal plan variation process, not through the unaccountable defined land provisions.
I am sure that the government will say that that would be too inflexible, but what I would say is that they should be doing more detailed initial planning of greenfield areas before the areas are sold off. I should also point out that it is already possible to subdivide land without going through a plan variation process, provided that it is done within the boundaries of the existing zones in the Territory Plan.