Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (9 March) . . Page.. 886..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
In relation to why this is occurring, the Land Development Agency is now, as a matter of course, seeking to get approvals where required to permit sites that are being sold by auction to be developed. This increases the certainty with which we can sell a site, increases the certainty that a potential purchaser has on acquiring a site and reduces, believe it or not, planning delays, which is something I know that other members in this place have criticised me about in the past. So it is about a more streamlined process, it is about making sure that approvals are in place prior to land being sold, and that would, I think, be the circumstances in this case. However, I will get the specific details for Ms Dundas and get back to her.
MS DUNDAS: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Considering that it is now the policy of the Land Development Agency to remove significant native trees before releasing blocks for development, do you have concerns that we will be losing significant trees unnecessarily, as they could have been kept, in consultation with the new owners of the block?
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, it depends on the circumstances of the block. Some blocks clearly are not capable of development unless it is possible that trees can be removed. For other blocks it is quite possible to retain trees as part of the planning process. What we are seeking to do is provide as great a certainty as we can in terms of the development capacity of land that is designated to be developed. That is what we are talking about here-we are talking about land which is designated on the territory plan for development and where it may not otherwise be possible to develop that land without getting permission to remove trees. It would have to go through the normal statutory process.
I think it is worth making the point to Ms Dundas that at the moment the interim tree protection legislation does not apply to unleased land. So what the territory is actually doing is applying the provisions of the interim tree protection legislation, even though it does not have to, to that land. That, I think, is a reasonable standard in circumstances where we are trying to ensure that when land is released for sale it is released in a way which is timely and that the purchaser is able to move on with development of that land, consistent with all of the other planning requirements.
MR PRATT: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, this week we have seen Duffy residents meeting at Narrabundah Hill to discuss the recovery progress and the planning for the areas adjacent to Duffy. It was notable that the most applause at that meeting was given to the speaker at that meeting who, with understandable anger, spoke of "the incompetence and ineptitude"demonstrated by people and of the failure to warn people about what was coming. This was in relation to the authorities, in the days leading up to 18 January, not clearly and directly warning the Duffy residents of the impending fire attack on Duffy. Chief Minister, was it only your government's incompetence and ineptitude that caused you to fail to warn the residents of Canberra, prior to 18 January, about the impending bushfire threat on suburbia?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Pratt for the question. Certainly, I am aware that there are still very many people who were directly affected by the fire who would be experiencing