Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 1 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 108..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
The issues of urgency around this matter are that the legislation deals with identifying and rectifying what currently is a significant level of uncertainty around the approval of approximately 30 to 40 developments in the city, the town centres and industrial areas.
This level of uncertainty as a result of a Supreme Court decision in November-December last year cannot be allowed to continue. The Assembly should deal with the matter now and reject or accept the legislation, but the existing level of uncertainty cannot be allowed to continue. To do so would be to cast a serious question mark upon and allow a serious question mark to remain over a series of developments in the city centre, the town centres and industrial land, which would act as a serious disincentive to investment in the city and impose serious potential risks for development for which, in the government's view, permission has been lawfully obtained.
That is the reason for the urgency. I have previously advised members of the government's intention. I did so in writing. I now seek the Assembly's agreement for us to proceed with the debate on the substantive item.
Question resolved in the affirmative, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.
Land (Planning and Environment) Legislation Amendment Bill 2007
Debate resumed from 20 February 2007, on motion by Mr Corbell:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.48): The Liberal opposition will not be supporting this bill as it is, mainly because we do not believe that this bill should apply retrospectively. I am on record as saying that we generally agree with the actual principle which is being put in place here, which attempts to limit third party appeals in town centres and in industrial areas. I said that when we debated a disallowance motion in this place last year. I do not agree with changing the law now in a retrospective manner which affects people's rights.
What we are faced with here is clearly a law that is designed to address a particular issue that the government has come up against in relation to the EpiCentre project and the court case that is going on concerning the appeal involving Direct Factory Outlets Canberra Pty Ltd and Capital Planners ACT Pty Ltd. Mr Speaker, I flag now that in the detail stage I will be moving an amendment which seeks to remove the retrospectivity of this bill. But, apart from the retrospective nature of it, we would generally support the principle in a prospective manner.
The background to the bill is that two companies—Director Factory Outlets Canberra Pty Ltd and Capital Planners ACT Pty Ltd, collectively DFO—obtained from the ACT Planning and Land Authority approval for a development involving the erection of a bulky goods and factory outlet retail centre at Fyshwick. Other companies—Capital Property Projects (ACT) Pty Ltd, Canberra International Airport Pty Ltd and