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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 90..


Bushfires

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Planning, Mr Corbell. Minister, in your media release on 7 February you announced certain measures in relation to the demolition and rebuilding of houses in the bushfire-affected areas. You said in part:

Under new conditions for bushfire victims, those home-owners wishing to rebuild according to previously approved house plans will not be required to lodge a development application, saving both time and money.

Minister, is it not a fact that very few of those affected will be covered by this provision and that very few homes can be rebuilt as they were, because the building code has changed and they will have to be rebuilt according to existing requirements?

MR CORBELL: The government has announced a range of reforms to assist in the recovery, in particular in the rebuilding of destroyed homes. The reforms focus on three classes of potential rebuilding. The first is rebuilding in accordance with previously approved plans. The second is rebuilding where there is no significant addition to building height, number of dwellings or total floor area. The third is redevelopment beyond the scope of the previous category-for example, if a householder wants to build a much larger house than they previously had or wants to do something like a dual occupancy.

In regard to the first category, the category Mrs Dunne is referring to-rebuilding in accordance with previously approved plans-it is proposed that no DA be required. This has been the general practice in the past. But as it is not completely free from legal doubt, particularly where the previous approval predates the land act, regulations will be made-and I have signed regulations to give effect to this-to ensure that such approval is free from legal doubt.

Yes, the new building code will apply, but it does not prevent the householder from effectively rebuilding what they previously had. Some of the technical requirements will have changed, but householders will be able to substantially rebuild what was previously there.

How many householders will take up this option nobody knows. We are still at a very early stage in the recovery. Those people who have lost their homes are going through a very difficult decision-making process about whether to stay, whether to go, whether to rebuild what they had or whether to do something different. The government's objective is to provide as much assistance as possible and as much information as possible so householders can make the choice which is right for them.

For the information of members, I outline the other categories I have mentioned. In relation to category 2-rebuilding where there is no significant addition to the building height, floor area or number of dwellings-the government is proposing, and has put in place, regulation waiving public consultation requirements, except where it is intended to build closer to side or rear boundaries than the normal building setbacks, unless this is to replace a previously approved structure.


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