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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2561..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

fair, this is very much a do-nothing government and the Minister for Planning wanted to stand out as somebody who was at least prepared to do something. That is creditable, but much of what was done was misguided.

This is not to say that the Planning and Land Authority does not have the potential to be a good institution. Over time, it will develop into that but, at the moment, it does not have the tools to do that. The cautionary note that was being sounded by the Liberal opposition back in December 2002 and before that, predicted what has occurred. Much of what I predicted at the time has come to fruition. I do not claim any particular prescience but I predicted that little would change and, for the most part, little has changed and what has changed has changed for the worse.

This is because-and these were issues that I raised at the time-there was insufficient commitment to the staff and staffing levels, there was no real commitment to organisational change and there was a fixation on passing a piece of legislation, but legislation alone does not create or revivify an organisation. The planning and environment committee at the time, and the opposition, cautioned the government and the minister about their approach.

The planning and environment committee, in its recommendations, said that it shared the concerns expressed by people who made submissions, that "this legislation may add further layers of complexity to an already complex and sometimes cumbersome process"and that "There appear to be a number of areas of overlap between existing and new legislation and also a lack of clarity with regard to the interaction of existing and new processes."The committee further recommended:

that the government consider establishing a Planning Ministry which would:

(a) provide the Planning minister with administrative support and advice; and

(b) assume some of the routine administrative functions proposed to be given to the Planning and Land Authority.

The opposition spoke then of low morale and lack of commitment to the staff. I believe that there is still no commitment from this government to this organisation.

I know that I expressed at the time some concerns about some of the appointments to the Planning and Land Council and the Land Development Agency, but I congratulate the minister on those appointments. I have been proven wrong. They have proved to be quite good appointments and some of the people about whom I had reservations have shone. I am quite prepared to say that it is the case that I was perhaps overly cautious and that, for the most part, the appointments have been quite good.

We have made good appointments. The appointment of the chief planning executive, while it took overly long-and it also took too long to get the appointee in place-appears to have been a good one. There is a higher level of satisfaction in the community with the attempts being made by the chief planning executive to get things under way and to bring planning in the ACT into the 21st century.

One of the things that is of great sadness to me is that Canberra once had a pre-eminent role and a pre-eminent reputation as a great planning city, a great planned city and a great place for planners to practise their craft. That is changing, and it is changing so


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