Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1939..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Mr Speaker, I am not indicating that I am prepared to grant endless extensions in this matter. I certainly am not. But I should say that it is important that we start to develop a decision-making process, not just a process for putting people in touch with issues, talking through issues and having a chance to communicate. That is very important, but it is not the whole question. The issue is getting some decisions made on issues about which the community is rightly quite concerned. So we have set the process in train. We announced LAPACs some time ago. We brought the elections up to early September or late August. We now have LAPACs in place. We expect them to be educating themselves about issues. We are making officers available to do that. We have put aside $100,000 to assist in the process of educating them and helping them get the information that they need, and I think it is not unreasonable in those circumstances that they should draw towards making a decision.
MS TUCKER: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. My question was: What is your understanding of the meaning of the term "awareness guidelines"? I was not implying that they needed to do that before or at the same time as this response to variation 33. My question was: How do you see a committee's ability to evaluate a particular variation until they have developed awareness guidelines, and what is your idea of awareness guidelines?
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, first of all, "awareness guidelines" is a deliberately vague term because it is up to the local communities, through the LAPAC process, to determine what standards or performance criteria they want to put in place, or want to propose to put in place, in respect of their local areas. For example, if they want to develop awareness guidelines which say, "We should not have developments in our streets such as to create more than two dual occupancies per section of the Territory Plan", that would be an awareness guideline requirement imposed by that LAPAC, and they would be entitled to put it forward for consideration by the Government and by the planning processes, and perhaps even for consideration in the context of the Territory Plan amendments, and so on. What we are talking about is them determining the sorts of issues they want to address in the context of their whole areas, issues that might or might not be part of the present planning process.
It should be very clear, I think, to all players in this matter that the development of awareness guidelines is not a precursor for the other work that the LAPAC has to do. It will have to consider other issues before it develops its awareness guidelines. It will have to look at particular planning applications in the context of the present law and the Territory Plan; it will have to look at particular variations to the Territory Plan and so on in that framework. I regret the fact that we do not have a year to let them become educated and mull over a range of possible issues in this matter. We do not have a year to leave some important decisions to be made. I would like to let them have as much opportunity as I can to understand the process, and, as I say, the Government has put aside money to make that happen; but it will not be an open-ended process. It must make some decisions as it goes along.