Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3778..
MR WOOD (continuing):
Amendment 38 will make changes to the Land Act. This amendment follows other amendments that were moved by the government. The new wording in that provision clarifies that where a development may affect Aboriginal heritage there is an obligation on the decision-maker to seek and consider the views of representative Aboriginal organisations, even if the Heritage Council does not provide advice on the development application. That procedure would have occurred anyway, but for the sake of certainty this change should be agreed to.
Amendments agreed to.
Amendment 1.31, as amended, agreed to.
Amendments 1.32 to 1.38, by leave, taken together and agreed to.
MRS DUNNE (8.55): The Liberal opposition opposes this amendment which will allow the Heritage Council, after a decision on a development application has been made, to lodge an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in relation to a decision of the ACT Planning Authority. Quite frankly, it would be absurd if one arm of government were able to take another arm of government to the AAT. That is the problem I have with such a fragmented approach to development applications. The Heritage Council, which is an arm of government and part of the land management process, basically will have its day in court. ACT Roads might be the next body to take ACTPLA to the AAT because it does not like roads in one subdivision, or Waste Management might take ACTPLA to the AAT because it does not like the current waste management system.
We might not like our current waste management system or the fact that ACTPLA does not take into account everything that the Heritage Council has to say in relation to a particular case. But it would be outrageous if one arm of government were able to take another arm of government through the AAT legal process. We should oppose this proposal because it will give one arm of government an unfair advantage and it will also unconscionably slow up the development application process.
MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Arts and Heritage, and Acting Minister for Health) (8.57): The government supports the bill in its present form and rejects Mrs Dunne's proposed amendment. This provision, which has been part of our general discussions, provides a safety valve. The government acknowledges that the events described earlier might not happen very often, but this provision provides the Heritage Council with a safety valve.
If something goes astray this provision will always provide the necessary protection. It is not the most common approach but, because of the way in which this bill has been formulated and because of discussions that the government has had, I believe these provisions compliment one another. The Heritage Council must be given the power to protect recognised places of heritage in the ACT.