Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 17 August 2006) . . Page.. 2311 ..
The government thinks this is an important regulation to make. It streamlines decision making in our industrial areas, in our town centres and in Civic. These are the places where large buildings can be built in our city. These are the places where large developments are permitted to occur. That is what our territory plan says. There should not be a fundamental problem with that occurring as long as it occurs consistent with the planning controls that are in place and we have an independent decision maker to assess whether a development application is consistent with those controls.
Mr Seselja raised the issue of further reform. The government has already put on the table comprehensive reform in its draft planning and development bill that addresses the issue of third party appeals and assessment of development applications. I just want to quickly mention those. The first is the issue of standing for third party appeal. We will require and we will be arguing when the bill is presented to the Assembly later this year that, to have standing to make an appeal, first of all you need to demonstrate material detriment. You must be potentially materially affected by a decision to approve or not approve a development application. That provision is in wide use in other jurisdictions but has not been applied previously in the ACT. Demonstration of material detriment means that if you live three suburbs away and you just do not happen to like the look of a building, it is not a ground to object to it. But if this building is going to cause you material detriment—it might be overshadowing or it might be loss of amenity; those sorts of issues—then you certainly do have grounds.
The second is that third party appeals will be focused on those areas and on those types of development applications which seek to push the boundaries in terms of what is permitted under the planning controls, and the use of development assessment tracks will seek to address that. I have run out of time to address those issues this morning, but the government is conscious that broader reform is needed in this area as well as tackling the immediate issues that we face in our town centres, in Civic and in our industrial areas, and that is what this regulation seeks to do.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.33), in reply: I want briefly to close the debate. First of all, I thank Mr Seselja and Mr Corbell for their contributions, which I appreciated. This subject came up as a disallowable instrument and would not have been discussed here today if I had not moved a motion of disallowance. I do keep my eye on the disallowable instruments and other regulations because I think some of them do deserve a broader airing, and I thought this was one of them.
I want to respond to some of the things that were said in the debate. I felt that Mr Seselja was perhaps segueing the Turner Residents Association and the Greens. I want to say that—
Mr Seselja: I am not saying that you are the same organisation.
DR FOSKEY: We are not the same people. We have had our own issues with the Turner Residents Association. The Greens’ policy, as I think people know, is about urban consolidation and so on. That is not to say that we think everyone should live in an apartment, by the way. I am not sure that putting up lots of apartments would solve the rent problem for people who want to live in houses with yards. It should be remembered that prior to the last election the Save Our Suburbs group—not Save Our Schools; SOS is