Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 7 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 2450..
MR BARR (continuing):
That is the substance of the matter. Those opposite know that it takes only one person to appeal, to hold up a development. It takes only one person to appeal and hold up a development. The rationale for my call in was the request for me to consider it by the Minister for Health—that is the rationale—in accordance with the legislation because there was a frivolous and politically motivated objection.
That is the decision I have made, the decision I am empowered to make in the Planning and Development Act. If those opposite do not believe that there should be call-in powers, let them again say so and seek to remove them from the legislation.
MR SESELJA: What a ridiculous answer, but I ask a supplementary question. Minister, what is the point of having a consultation process if the entire process can be thrown out on the basis of one letter to the editor?
MR BARR: The premise of the question is wrong. There are strict criteria in relation to the use of call-in powers and there are very strict requirements in the legislation. There are thousands of development applications lodged—
Mr Seselja: That is the new bar—letters to the editor.
MR BARR: The new bar is two qualifications: one, it is a project of such significance as indicated in the legislation. That is the most significant criterion. The second one is that there is not a risk of frivolous and politically motivated objections holding up such a—
Opposition members interjecting—
MR BARR: That is the requirement that I have set for consideration of this matter. The first and most important qualification for a call in is as outlined in the act. But when considering that matter, I have to consider the risk of objections holding up a major piece of infrastructure.
Let us go to the detail of the objection. The objector did not like the architecture of the building. The objector wanted solar panels on the roof competing with the cars. There is no roof on the car park; cars park on the roof of the car park. It is not there for solar panels. It was a frivolous objection. It was politically motivated. This gentleman is a regular objector. We are aware of that and he did send it to the Canberra Times. How else would you like me to interpret it? No other objector felt the need to send their objection to the Canberra Times prior to sending it to the Planning and Land Authority.
Mr Seselja: But he has never appealed.
MR BARR: Whether or not Mr Kershaw has a history of appealing is irrelevant. I have taken a decisive action to remove the risk. There is now no risk of these developments being held up by frivolous or politically motivated objections.
I can rest assured that in making my observation on 29 May that there would be frivolous and politically motivated objections, I can only rely on the Liberal