Page 401 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Castley for the supplementary question. It is really distressing, and I am always really concerned when I hear these stories, particularly about children who are delayed in getting access to a specialist appointment. In fact, I had a conversation with my office just this morning about paediatric ear, nose and throat, how we are going with that and what more we can do to attract ear, nose and throat specialists but also to ensure that children in particular can get access to those appointments. We know that it has been an ongoing challenge in the ACT to attract ear, nose and throat specialists and to have sufficient capacity in that space. It is something that we continue to work on. As I said, just this this morning I was following up again with my staff in terms of how we are getting on with that.

MR PARTON: Minister, how many of the 707 children who were waiting 540 days to see an immunologist in August of 2020 have now been lucky enough to see one?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Parton for the question, but I will take it on notice.

Legislation—draft planning bill

MS CLAY: My question is to the minister for planning. Minister, you have just released the consultation draft of the new planning act, which includes new planning regulations and a set of fact sheets. The community certainly want to hear presentations on this act, but there are lots of people who will have targeted questions as well. Can you set out the opportunities that the community will have to ask directorate officials questions about the planning act, and why do there seem to be only five public opportunities for consultation listed on the website?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Clay for the question. It is an important one, as we go forward with the new planning bill. As you heard, I announced consultation last week, so anyone with an interest in Canberra’s planning system can make a submission on the draft bill. They have until 15 June this year to have their say. I am aware that many people, of course, have views on planning in Canberra, so I look forward to hearing those community views as we go forward.

The ACT government will be running a series of information sessions where people can find out more about the bill and ask questions. These information sessions will be held on a range of different days and at a variety of times, as we know that not everyone can make it to evening meetings or on weekends.

People can have their say in three different ways. They can make a quick comment, they can write a short statement against any of the chapters that interest them, and they can send in a submission as well. The Your Say page has a range of fact sheets to help them understand the key changes in the bill. The government will also be meeting with our key community and industry partners twice during the consultation period, in a workshop-style format, to seek feedback. So there are quite a number of opportunities there.

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