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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . .

Page.. 3344..

Planning, Building and Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 25 September 2014, on motion by Mr Gentleman:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.10): I will be supporting this bill today. This is the seventh omnibus planning and building amendment bill and it makes minor policy and technical amendments to the Building Act, the Building (General) Regulation 2008, the Planning and Development Act 2007 and the Planning and Development Regulation 2008. I would like to touch on a few of the key features of the legislation and just make a few brief remarks.

Firstly, I refer to the bit of the bill that amends the development approval made by the minister under call-in powers. This bill will allow the minister to amend a development proposal that was decided by the minister using the call-in powers, as there is currently no provision under the Planning and Development Act to make minor amendments to DAs that have been determined by being called in.

This bill rectifies an existing anomaly whereby only DAs approved by ACTPLA have the capacity to be amended. For DAs the minister has called in, there is no power for even minor amendments to be made, which can on occasion be problematic. For example, in the case of the Royalla solar farm, I understand that the proponent wanted to revise the list of plant species from that which was submitted under the DA. As the DA was approved by the minister rather than ACTPLA, they were not able to do this for technical reasons.

This bill brings decisions made by the minister in line with those made by ACTPLA. It allows the minister to amend or refuse to amend a DA or to delegate the decision-making authority to ACTPLA. The criteria for assessing the proposal to amend are the same as those currently in the act.

To be clear, a decision made under the call-in power is not subject to ACAT review and, consistent with this, the amendments allowed under this bill will also not be subject to merit review. As members know, I have clearly stated my concern about the application of the call-in and its application to the right to review and have proposed legislative changes to address this. However, in this instance I do not believe that the absence of review rights is problematic.

It is consistent that minor amendments should be subject to the same conditions as the original development. It would not make sense, for example, to allow challenges to small changes, such as to the position of windows, fencing materials or plant species, when the development itself is not able to be challenged. The amendments before us today are minor only, and the requirement remains that the DA as amended must be substantially the same as that which has already been approved.

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