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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3684..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

This is a very encouraging result, given that we are the smallest jurisdiction in the country. In particular, we were ranked first by the planning profession for the way we are managing growth, introducing sustainability indicators and supporting development through governance systems. That is a very strong endorsement of the arrangements the government has put in place for planning, with the establishment of the planning authority and the mechanisms around it. In particular, it is a very strong endorsement of the framework we have put in place through the Canberra spatial plan, the urban containment boundary and the mechanisms to contain and manage growth in a sustainable way. It is very pleasing that the profession itself recognises this as the best performance in the country.

In addition, we have been ranked second in the country for the way we are addressing the impacts of population shifts and putting in place streamlined planning assessment processes. This is a very welcome endorsement by the planning professionals themselves that this jurisdiction leads the way in this regard.

It is also pleasing to note that, in relation to the criterion of streamlined assessment, the ACT was rated the second highest. The report card noted that, for this criterion, the ACT and South Australia are performing well, with the ACT being congratulated for proposing to implement the nationally devised leading practice model for development assessment. The report card goes on to acknowledge that the ACT is a leader in many areas of planning, such as introducing higher energy efficiency standards, new water sensitive urban design initiatives and reforming our planning system to create and implement the national best practice model.

I think this endorsement by planners themselves is a strong argument to rebut those claims that we hear from time to time that in some people's minds the planning system does not perform well. We all acknowledge that the planning system continues to have its weaknesses, and we are committed to addressing them. But this strong endorsement by the profession at a national level that the ACT leads the way in these key areas is testimony to the hard work of our planners, our planning authority and of the government's policies to put in place progressive governance arrangements and progressive sustainability measures.

Municipal services—community access

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services and is in regard to government shopfronts and community access to government services. Given the government's elevation of Canberra City to being the pre-eminent commercial and employment centre in Canberra and the adoption of planning principles which support that approach, could you explain to Canberrans why people whom your policies encourage to live or work in, or visit, the centre of Canberra do not need access to over-the-counter government services, whereas those in Dickson and the other town centres do? Could you please outline the attempts that were made to seek alternative cost-saving solutions, rather than shutting down the Civic shopfront?

MR HARGREAVES: I do wish sometimes that Dr Foskey would read some of the things that we put out to explain various decisions and would listen sometimes when I explain these things in the house, as I have done before. We know that people use the

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