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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 3489..


MS PORTER (continuing):

government is not prepared to extend the term of reference relating to the evaluation of the garden city provisions to the territory plan to include a commitment to building and supporting the viability of local shops.

The government agreed to undertake an evaluation of residential polices contained in the garden city provisions. Extending this evaluation to a commitment to building and supporting the viability of local shops would require a comprehensive review of commercial policies applying to local centres. It was never part of the agreed scope of that evaluation.

The government supports the broad thrust of Dr Foskey's motion. However, it does not support adding to the terms of reference for the evaluation of garden city provisions, as outlined in the motion. Whilst the government fully supports a planning regime that strengthens the viability of local shops and schools, this should not be to the extent of direct intervention in the market or taking direct responsibility for such provisions. Thereby I support Mr Corbell's amendment.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (4.29): It has been really interesting to hear the responses of other members of the house. I would like to sum up and respond to Mr Corbell's amendment, which, of course, neatly sidesteps the point of the motion. As Mrs Dunne said, it is another of those amendments where the government looks at itself and says, "What we are doing is good."I will support the amended motion. No doubt it will be amended. That is what happens when the government has a majority in the house. It would be foolish to vote against it.

I would like to respond to speakers in the debate who have, I think, misrepresented the Greens' position. But first I want to speak on the amendment. I am very concerned that the government is not prepared to include some analysis of the impact of changes to the territory plan on local centres. If it is prepared to recognise the vital importance of retail and community services to the social fabric of our suburbs and support a planning regime that strengthens the viability of local shops and schools, which are mentioned in paragraphs (1) and (2) of my motion, you would think that it would be prepared to go a little bit further, which paragraphs (3) and (4) of my motion do.

An approach that simply affirms that the evaluation is about its effectiveness in achieving the outcomes specified in the government's policy absolutely fails to acknowledge the sensitivity and importance to the Canberra community of the issue of local centres. Technically I am sure the government can argue that this direction is a proper one. In dodging the issue underlining this debate, it is nonetheless a rather contemptuous approach. I would remind the minister that in the lead-up to the 2001 election and as recently as mid-2003, when variation 200 came into force, this government claimed a great commitment to community planning processes. Now the government has abandoned both neighbourhood planning and the proposed community planning forums. The new process of conducting so-called consultation through community councils has not been reported on since it was introduced. I would be very interested to hear from the minister how that is going, and I may ask him directly in the next sitting period.

The planning system reform project is designed to deliver a broad-brush approach to zoning and development. But communities want to know the answers to questions and


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