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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2011) . . Page.. 2643 ..

Planning—Woden Valley

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development and relates to planning issues in Woden Valley. Minister, I note that the previous planning minister made a big effort to stay at arm’s length from decisions on development applications. In the Chronicle last week it was reported that you have directed ACTPLA to refer the development application for the Woden pitch and putt site to you in order for you to make a ruling on whether or not you would be approving the DA personally. How is this approach consistent with keeping politics out of planning, and does this remain the government’s policy?

MR CORBELL: The government’s policy has remained consistent. There are instances where the responsible minister is able to determine, or decide whether or not to determine, an application should it raise an issue of significant public interest. Those criteria are set out very clearly in the Planning and Development Act, and I am exercising my functions consistent with the provisions in that act in the same way that my predecessor did.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question?

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, what is the government’s commitment to private green recreational space in Woden?

Mr Corbell: Could you say that again?

MS LE COUTEUR: What is the government’s commitment to private green recreational space in Woden—like pitch and putt?

MR CORBELL: Private green recreational space—I presume that Ms Le Couteur is referring to privately leased open space areas like the Woden pitch and putt. It is the case that there has been significant community concern about a proposed change to the lease purpose clause that governs the Woden pitch and putt that may have an impact on the future provision of that facility.

It is for that reason that I have asked the Planning and Land Authority to refer the matter to me so I can decide whether or not it warrants me exercising my powers under the act and determining the application myself. I have not yet reached a decision in relation to those matters but my view is, given the strong public interest in the matter, that it is appropriate that I, as the minister, look at the issue and decide whether or not it is a matter that I should consider further.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Minister, what does the government consider are appropriate uses for the Woden pitch and putt site?

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