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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4709 ..


It is something which we should have been doing 40 or 50 years ago. But now is the time to act on it. Mr Barr said yesterday that climate change changes everything and that the implications of climate change for planning in Canberra are enormous. He said that the debate now should be on how to create solutions. The Greens agree with this and this is what we are trying to do today—create solutions.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (12.02): As Ms Le Couteur indicated at the tail end of her speech, I will, after a brief contribution, seek to adjourn debate on this matter, but I think it is important to explain—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Barr, you cannot speak and adjourn, I am advised.

MR BARR: Okay, well, I will get someone else to adjourn the debate. It is important to explain that the government will seek to adjourn the debate this morning because there is already a process in place. The government has committed to a reference group to work through these issues. It may well be that, at the conclusion of that process, the recommendations from that group may be to split elements of the current draft variations. For the Assembly to vote to do that today would be to pre-empt the process that is already underway.

I acknowledge the point that Ms Le Couteur has made in her contribution that there is agreement broadly across all of the stakeholders that there needs to be a response in the territory plan around solar orientation, but it is very clear that we have not yet reached a consensus on the best way to put that forward through a territory plan variation and that there is some way to go.

The government’s proposal, through DV 301, has its supporters. But there are also others who believe you could achieve similar outcomes or the same outcomes with a slightly different approach. I think we have to be open to that and allow the process that we have put in place to continue. I do not think a pre-emptive response from the Assembly today would in any way aid that. It would undermine the point of actually having this reference group and would say to them that their work is not valued. I do not think that is the right way to go about this particular issue.

The government, of course, having brought forward these variations, remains committed to the policy objectives, but it also remains committed to achieving them in an efficient manner and in a manner that will get the best outcomes and encompass the holistic range of issues that need to be addressed. Variations 301 and 303 were brought forward together as part of an integrated response not only for solar access but for a number of other issues. So it is important that we see that process through.

It may or may not involve withdrawing those variations and providing a new series of variations. Time will tell on that. But I do not think Ms Le Couteur’s approach today would in any way speed up the process. Although I acknowledge her passion to achieve an outcome on solar orientation and the solar fence principle, I do not believe that the approach she has outlined today will necessarily achieve the outcome she


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