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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 25 November 2014) . . Page.. 3931 ..

Auditor-General’s report No 3/2014—single dwelling development assessments

Statement by minister

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (10.12), by leave: On 3 June this year the Auditor-General’s report into single-dwelling development assessments was tabled in this Assembly. The report contained 14 recommendations in total, designed to address the audit findings. The objective of the performance audit as stated by the Auditor-General was to provide an independent opinion to the Legislative Assembly on whether the development application exemption and the development application approval processes for single-dwelling developments are open to improper influence.

The audit focused on single-dwelling developments and undertook an independent assessment of development case studies and technical advice. It is important to note that the Auditor-General concluded with the following:

There was no evidence of improper influence being exerted on, or by, the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate’s assessing officers, for the seven case studies examined as part of this audit.

The Auditor-General did, however, identify some improvements which the government believes will further strengthen protections for Canberrans and also ensure greater transparency in all development applications.

All of the 14 recommendations made by the Auditor-General are considered to have merit. I am now in a position to update the Assembly in relation to the actions taken thus far and will table a progress report for information to members in just a moment.

I am pleased to advise the Assembly that 12 of the 14 recommendations have been fully implemented, with the remaining two recommendations—4 and 10—being the subject of current policy and legislative review.

The Auditor-General’s report recommended that a number of administrative changes and new processes be put in place. This work is now significantly progressed.

There were also recommendations that required legislative amendments to be implemented. These recommendations are at the core of the changes proposed by the Auditor-General in her report and relate to the process by which decisions regarding exempt development are made by persons authorised to make those decisions, the majority of these decisions being made by building certifiers.

The Auditor-General recommended that people assessing applications for development approval and buildings approval should better document their decisions and that building surveyors and works assessors, in their roles under both the Planning and Development Act and the Building Act, should be required to submit specific documentation in relation to assessments of exempt development.

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