Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 8 Hansard (16 August) . . Page.. 3238..
MR CORBELL: It has always been recognised, both in terms of the operations of ACTPLA as it was first established and in terms of the operations of ESD as it is now, that there is a dual role for the role of the chief planning executive. The chief planning executive has responsibilities to provide policy advice to the government on matters of planning policy and is also responsible for the administration of development assessment at arm's length from the government. Those arrangements remain unchanged.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary.
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, has Mr Savery been pushed aside because he dared blow the whistle on the persistent political interference from both ministers and agencies in the independent statutory planning process?
MR CORBELL: No, he has not. I would simply reiterate to members that Mr Savery is a highly respected and well regarded senior executive of the ACT government service. Indeed, with the establishment of the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate, I discussed a range of issues with Mr Savery and certainly indicated to him my desire for him to continue on in an important role in the ACT government service because of his breadth of experience and knowledge that he brings to the field of planning and urban development more generally.
MR COE: My question is to the Deputy Chief Minister. I refer to email correspondence between a representative of a developer and Neil Savery in relation to the Giralang shops development uncovered as part of an FOI on the issue. The email is dated 27 March 2008. In the email, a representative wrote to Mr Savery and said:
I understand the ... DA status, in fact that is partly why I'm concerned that one Minister urged my client to lodge the current DA (with its present residential: retail ratio) and that post lodgement of the DA, another Minister has written to my client saying he would not approve the proportion of commercial/retail space proposed while the DA is still live.
Minister, were you one of the ministers referred to in the email, and what were you or your office urging the proponent to do?
MR BARR: As I am sure Mr Coe would be aware, as he purports to represent this part of Canberra, there were a number of development applications that were lodged in relation to this particular redevelopment proposal, and a number were rejected. Initially, the first one was on the basis that it did not provide sufficient commercial space and was effectively a change from the local shops into a residential project. A subsequent development application was proposed that had, from memory, a very large supermarket to be operated by Woolworths. That was outside the generally accepted guidelines in relation to the size of supermarkets within local centres.
As I understand it, that email would perhaps have referred to some discussions that were had between my office, myself, the Giralang residents association and the proponent, seeking to find a compromise that would meet the needs of—