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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 1995) . . Page.. 1529 ..


I suppose that planning in the ACT has been one of the major items on the agenda for the last 10 years, at least. Certainly, from my recollection, that has been the case. There has been constant dissatisfaction in the community with the way that planning is implemented. There has been constant dissatisfaction in the community with the decision-making process and with politicians involved in planning. That includes politicians, both at this level and at the Federal level. Clearly, that planning is not working. Indeed, we had a debate on this in the house only yesterday, and there were continued criticisms of the planning system voiced.

We can identify, I suppose, some things that we think are wrong. We think that the legislation is not very good, although it took three years to develop and there were 1,000 public submissions that were taken into account in preparing that legislation. Yet people in the community can say that the legislation is not working. We can say that the plan itself is not working. Indeed, people say that every day of the week. We have witnesses appearing before committees of this Assembly constantly criticising the Territory Plan and the way it fails, in their view, to meet the needs of the community. The interesting thing about that is, of course, that there are really two territory plans. I think that much of the problem flows from the conflict between the two.

Those of us who have been around for a few years will be very familiar with the workings and the operations of the National Capital Development Commission, which was the sole arbiter of planning matters in this city for decades. In 1988, in anticipation of self-government, the decision was made - not by this community, not by the Legislative Assembly for the ACT; but by the Commonwealth Parliament - that the NCDC would be abolished. There were a lot of us who did not mind that so much because of the way that it functioned. Instead of the NCDC, there would be two planning authorities: The National Capital Planning Authority, which would have responsibility for the national interests; and the ACT Planning Authority, which would take care of local planning issues.

Over a period of three years, there was evolved by these two planning authorities the duality of planning systems that exists in the ACT today - a system, I suggest, that was bound to create confrontation, conflict and dissatisfaction. I think the evidence since 1988 suggests that that is exactly what has happened. The existence of the two planning authorities and the two territory plans makes the planning function in this city far more complicated than it needs to be; and I think it is the complexity of the planning process that causes people so much concern. The complexity arises from the fact that we have two land owners in the ACT. The Commonwealth owns land, and we own land. We have two overlapping sets of planning responsibilities and, if you like, authorities. We have this peculiar notion that, although the ACT may own certain lands, the National Capital Planning Authority has the planning jurisdiction over those lands.

One could argue in simplistic terms, of course, that if the National Capital Planning Authority confined itself purely to matters of national interest, which is essentially the Parliamentary Triangle, and left the rest to the Territory Planning Authority there would be no conflict. Unfortunately, that is not the case; and we find the National Capital Planning Authority intruding into geographic areas far removed from the Parliamentary Triangle and into areas where one, I think, is often confounded by the proposition that


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