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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 4147..

Planning and Environment—Standing Committee

Report 7—government response

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (11.23): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the following paper:

Public Accounts—Standing Committee—report 7—Review of Auditor-General's report No 2 of 2005: Development application and approval process—government response.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

The Auditor-General's report on the ACT Planning and Land Authority's development application and approval processes was tabled in the Assembly on 5 May 2005. In its report on the Auditor-General's report, the Public Accounts Committee made 20 recommendations. The government has accepted the majority of the committee's recommendations, as most of the findings and recommendations of the audit report were previously accepted and have in fact been implemented. As noted in the committee report, a number of matters are also currently the subject of the planning system reform project. This project is one of the government's major policy reforms.

The committee's first recommendation was that "ACTPLA collate all AAT decisions and provide these in a clear and concise manifest so that a database of case law is easily accessible on the ACTPLA website for use by staff and proponents". This has not been supported by the government because such a database is readily available on the AAT website and from the Australasian Legal Information Institute Database, or AustLII as it is known.

For ACTPLA to maintain a separate database would be an unnecessary duplication of resources. ACTPLA has, however, previously established its internal AAT decisions review committee, the terms of reference for which include "to act as a high-level examination body for all planning related AAT decisions". This is to ensure that any legislative policy or procedural reforms are addressed. It is worth noting that a number of these issues are also reflected and addressed in the Planning and Development Bill.

A number of the Public Accounts Committee's recommendations relate to training and development issues, especially as these impact on planners. Whilst agreeing with the thrust of the committee's recommendations, there are obvious resource issues that need to be considered.

The committee also recommended that ACTPLA ensure that its community engagement practices are consistent with the government's community engagement initiative. This was made in the context of the time allowed for public consultation on the Planning and Development Bill. ACTPLA's community engagement processes

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