Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008-2009 Week 1 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 72..
MR BARR (continuing):
The one danger, of course, is the potential for there to be politicisation of the development assessment process. I would caution all members against going down that path as it will not be constructive for planning and development in the territory.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Le Couteur?
MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Given all these improvements, how long is it now taking for development applications to be approved?
MR BARR: That, of course, depends on the particular track in which they are lodged but the general timeframes are 20, 30 and 45 days, depending on the complexity of the development applications. Of course if a DA is in the exempt category it does not need to go anywhere near the planning authority at all. If the proponent is able to demonstrate that their particular development does not require assessment—and there are certain criteria on that that are well published—it just moves directly to building certification rather than needing a development approval. That is another way of streamlining the process.
MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. The Kingsford Smith school in West Belconnen was officially opened on 15 October, just three days before the ACT election. An ACT Labor media release issued for the opening noted that the Deputy Prime Minister had said that the school "will open in 2009 and accommodate up to 1100 students from preschool to year 10 as well as 90 teaching and ancillary staff".
However, as we now know, more than 50 parents of students seeking enrolment at Kingsford Smith school in 2009 were advised in a letter dated 26 November 2008, barely three weeks before the end of the school year, that the school will not be offering classes in years 8, 9 and 10 in 2009. Minister, when did you become aware that there was a possibility that Kingsford Smith school would not be offering classes in years 8, 9 and 10 in 2009?
MR BARR: I thank the new shadow minister for education for that question. I wish him well in the shadow portfolio. I hope that he does a considerably better job than his predecessors. I welcome the interest of the shadow minister in this matter, because it is important. As he is a new member to this place, I will advise him of just a little of the background in relation to the development of this magnificent $45 million new education facility for the people of west Belconnen. I need to state from the outset that the school, in seeking enrolments for the 2009 school year, was very clear with everyone who sought enrolment, most particularly in the senior high school years, that it could only accept provisional enrolments and that a decision would have to be made at a later date as to the capacity of the school, given the levels of interest, to be able to run a program for years 8, 9 and 10.
Students and parents who enrolled for preschool to year 7 were advised at the end of term 3 that their placements in the new school were accepted. I am very pleased to