Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 October 2006) . . Page.. 3110 ..
This is a provision that is existing in the land act that is going to be continued in the new planning and development act. The concern is that we are essentially making everyday transactions illegal or unlawful. I do not think that is good law, and the law society does not think it is good law. I think we need to look at the purpose of this provision. The purpose of this provision is to prevent land speculation. We can have a debate as to whether or not land speculation is a good or a bad thing, but the ambit of this section seems to go further than that and makes everyday transactions unlawful. That is a concern.
I raised this issue with the minister and officials when the committee spoke to them the second time. The minister indicated that the government may look at some sort of compliance or enforcement action in relation to this area. I think there would be significant concern in the community if that were the case. I do not think there is any case for us to be preventing those kinds of transactions where people consolidate their debts into their home loans. I think that is a reasonable way of raising capital or raising funds. There seems no good public policy reason to have that provision there as it currently stands, and, secondly, to be enforcing it. I think there would be significant concern, particularly over enforcement. I bring that to the attention of the Assembly.
Mr Gentleman touched on the fact that some of our witnesses raised issues about the general complexity of the bill. It is a 374-page piece of legislation. We are looking to simplify things, and I think there are some things in there that could easily be simplified.
Turning to some of the overarching statements, you have the statement of planning intent, the statement of strategic directions and the planning strategy. In fact, recommendations 33 and 34 deal with that and recommend that there be some simplification. Of course we have the overarching principles in the territory plan and the national capital plan as well. We have a lot of overarching strategies, principles and plans—perhaps too many.
I commend the report to the Assembly. I encourage the government to take notice of the recommendations, to take them seriously and, in the spirit in which the committee conducted these hearings, to take on board the recommendations and look to really improving this bill, because it is crucial that we get it right. This is the first time in the history of self-government that we have had this kind of process and have been able to consolidate things in this way. I think it is a good opportunity. It is important that we get it right. It will be a tragedy for Canberra if this legislation does not work, if we do not get it right, or if implementation of it proves impossible or very difficult.
Debate (on motion by Dr Foskey) adjourned to the next sitting.
Legal Affairs—Standing Committee
Statement by chair
MR SESELJA (Molonglo): Mr Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 246A, I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs. The Standing Committee on Legal Affairs is currently undertaking an inquiry into sentencing in the ACT. The inquiry’s terms of reference include consideration of sentencing options and outcomes in the ACT and other relevant matters. During the course of this inquiry