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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2351..


Planning system reform

Ministerial statement

MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (3.52): I seek leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement concerning planning system reform.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: The reform of the ACT's planning system is continuing under a process that began with the Planning and Land Act and the establishment of the ACT Planning and Land Authority and the Land Development Agency by the Stanhope Labor Government. To briefly summarise for the benefit of members, the reform agenda, as outlined in my statement of planning intent of 2003, addressed a number of significant planning and development issues. These included streamlining the development assessment system; maintaining and promoting a single integrated development assessment path; management of the leasehold estate, with an emphasis on more effective and more transparent administration and compliance; amendments to environmental impact assessments to ensure assessments align with the level of impact; overhauling the Land Act and the territory plan; elevating the status and role of strategic planning and policy instruments and guiding decision making and engaging the public early in the planning process; and providing appropriate safeguards for members of the community most directly affected by policy change on development applications.

Industry and the community are already benefiting from a number of short-term reforms that have been implemented as part of the planning system reform project. These include streamlining and refining the development approval process; rationalising the requirement and process for preliminary assessments; and removing the pre-application and validation process. The government has a commitment to broader legislative reform in pursuit of a planning system that would set new benchmarks of best practice. When I launched the planning system reform project in May last year, I highlighted the need to make the planning system in Canberra simpler, more consistent and faster for residents and industry. Consultation on the reform package has provided valuable input and I thank those people-industry, environmental organisations and government agencies-who participated in the consultations for their time and invaluable input. The government's consideration of this input set the final reform directions, and the preparation of new planning legislation.

The exposure draft of the Planning and Development Bill 2006, which I released a number of weeks ago, proposes to deliver on a key government election commitment in what has been the most comprehensive review of the ACT's entire planning and land administration system since self-government. This draft legislation will place the ACT at the leading edge of planning reform nationally. In particular, the ACT will be the first jurisdiction to substantially adopt the nationally recognised leading practice model for development assessment developed by the intergovernmental development assessment forum and supported by all state, territory and commonwealth local government and planning ministers. The exposure draft bill is the outcome of a comprehensive and systematic review of the ACT planning system. The change will streamline the


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