Page 2619 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 21 September 2022

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concessional status of leases is to be removed. A development application seeking to remove the concessional status on a concessional lease will be referred to the Minister for Planning and Land Management for consideration and a decision will be made in accordance with a refined process and specific criteria relevant to assessing the public interest.

The bill will also continue to allow the Territory Planning Authority to authorise, for a short time, the use of land for purposes not currently permitted under the lease, where there is a significant public benefit and pressing time considerations—for example, the need for land to support the public health response to the COVID-19 health emergency.

The bill maintains compliance and enforcement powers and expresses them in a way that is easier to understand. The bill introduces discretion into the controlled activity order processes. A person will still be able to lodge a complaint in accordance with the existing complaints process. However, to reduce frivolous or vexatious complaints that slow the development process, the Territory Planning Authority will have discretion in making a controlled activity order.

The bill still allows for the review of certain decisions and the people who may seek that review, but it simplifies the statutory framework. The bill will identify categories of decision that are exempt from review, rather than the current by regulation made under the bill. This is intended to promote transparency and certainty. The categories of reviewable decisions that are exempt from review have been simplified and realigned, having regard to the new outcomes focus of the planning system. Developments in the city centre, a town centre, an industrial zone or the Kingston foreshore continue to be exempt. Developments in other non-residential zones will be exempt where fundamental development controls are met and a development is not close to a residential block. This approach reflects that, where key acceptable measures within the Territory Plan are met, the proposal is delivering an intended development outcome.

The ACT government consulted extensively with the local community and industry on a draft version of this bill from mid-March to mid-June 2022. During this period, individuals, groups and industry representatives engaged with the proposed bill. There was general support for the policy intention behind the planning system reforms, including the objects of the bill and the principles of good consultation and good planning. There was also support for the introduction of district-level planning through district strategies. A range of views were received about the removal of pre-development application consultation and opportunities for public consultation and third-party appeal rights through the development process. We also heard people’s differing views on territory priority projects and the role of the chief planner in the territory priority projects process.

In response to this feedback, several changes have been incorporated into the final bill introduced today—for example, the incorporation of the principles of good consultation into the bill itself, and the minister exercising the power to decide a territory priority project development application instead of the chief planner. The majority of changes have been amendments to wording, to achieve the original policy

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