Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2713..
MR KAINE (continuing):
community in considering the second variation proposal on the basis that it knows all the questions and all the answers in relation to the issues raised by that variation.
Mr Speaker, I submit that they do not. I submit that they cannot. The only way to know the issues is to do what the committee is required to do, and that is to call for submissions from the government, if it chooses to put one in, and from other interested people in the community, and then weigh the evidence that is put to it in those submissions. The committee cannot know otherwise.
Mr Speaker, as I said at the beginning, I am concerned that what we are seeing here is a government that claims to be committed to community consultation flatly refusing to consult on an important issue such as this one. I repeat that I believe the government, aided and abetted by Mr Hird and his committee, or certain members of it, is deliberately subverting the due processes of planning and development. If the government is going to do that with this one, is it going to do it with the next one down the pipe as well, and the one after that? Are we setting a precedent? Mr Speaker, I think it is a most undesirable precedent.
Mr Hird has not put forward a convincing argument as to why he chose not to go through the proper processes in connection with this variation. His only argument is: "I made up my mind." Well, that is not what he is paid to do, Mr Speaker. He is paid to let the community have their say. I do not see how you can possibly justify riding roughshod over the community on this or any other proposal to vary the Territory Plan.
Mr Speaker, I think Ms Tucker is correct. I think the committee ought to be directed to go back and do what it is obliged to do as part of the processes of planning and development in this territory.
MR CORBELL (5.09): I will speak to Ms Tucker's amendment. Mr Hird probably is going to stand up shortly and tell us that all of those files he has over there are the public consultation. Is that what you are going to do, Mr Hird?
MR SPEAKER: No rhetorical questions.
MR CORBELL: I imagine, Mr Speaker, that that is what Mr Hird is going to do. He is going to use all of those files over there and say that is the public consultation. Well, Mr Hird should think again about how this process under the land act works. Mr Hird should know, and I pray that he does, Mr Speaker, but I am worried that he does not, that under the land act there are two very clear and distinct consultation processes in relation to any proposed variation to the Territory Plan.
The first, Mr Speaker, is conducted by the ACT Planning Authority, or, as it is currently known, Planning and Land Management. When Planning and Land Management release a draft variation for comment they take submissions on it. Then they consider those submissions, report to the executive on the variation and the result of their own consultation process, and then the executive refers that variation to the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Services. Then the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Services conducts its own inquiry into the draft variation, and almost always the standing committee again calls for public submissions on that variation.