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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1328..


MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):

As a community we have to be aware that low-income earners are being targeted, and we do not want young people burdened with massive credit debt in the early stages of their working careers. If credit providers are not prepared to accept this social responsibility, it is up to this Assembly to step in, and that is why I urge members to support this initiative. Mr Speaker, I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Land (Planning and Environment) Amendment Bill 2000 (No 3)

Debate resumed from 28 February 2001, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.11): Mr Speaker, it will come as no surprise that the government is not supporting this bill. This bill purports to do many things, yet delivers none of them. Mr Corbell's bill proposes the re-establishment of the position of chief planner as head of the ACT Planning Authority. Presumably, although it is not stated, that person would also be the head of the Planning and Land Management Group.

The position of chief planner was abolished in 1996 to provide for officers of the former Planning Authority and Land Division to operate within a single agency. This amalgamation-the formation of PALM-was announced in the government's response to the 1995 report of the inquiry into the administration of the ACT leasehold, commonly known as the Stein report.

The bill proposes to separate, once again, the planning and land administration functions that have been so closely linked since 1996. However, the co-location of planning and land management functions within PALM has reduced both the duplication of effort and the cost of planning in the ACT. Re-establishing the position of chief planner will not at this stage increase either clarity or accountability in planning decisions. Mr Corbell's bill does not really establish the chief planner as an independent authority. Under the Corbell bill, the chief planner has no independent budget or functions and the authority remains subject to ministerial direction.

I would urge members to consider very carefully the implications of this bill. I would urge them to do that in the context of a couple of other events that are happening or about to happen in Canberra. First and foremost, as we debate this bill in the chamber today, the Australian National Development Assessment Forum is meeting somewhere else in this city to endorse a major report as to a national strategic planning guide to complement the national leading principles of development assessment. Senior executives of PALM are in attendance at that meeting today.

That very important national work is the culmination of over three years of effort and is being supported by representatives of peak planning, design and other associated professions and groups, including property, local, state and Commonwealth government delegates. I would simply put the question: in seeking to amend the system of planning governance in one of the world's great planned cities, have the members of the Assembly


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