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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 May 2018) . . Page.. 1612 ..

In no way, I must say, am I casting aspersions on the integrity or professionalism of the officials and delegates involved in these processes. But certainly the government giving directions on these decisions needs something of an uplift on occasions.

Another important agency function the delegates will exercise power over is the determination of the various categories of housing targets. Rather than targets being articulated as a percentage share, the bill now converts these to numerical targets for each new development. We have no problem with this for, in a sense, the numerical target in each development will help create an affordable housing environment. Alternatively, those targets could very well contribute further to the impossibility of owning a house in Canberra—a house with a backyard in which to bring up your kids and have a bit of a garden.

Again, the ability of this chamber and the Canberra community to have access to the decisions and the rationale in relation to the various targets for these would be most helpful. It would be great to think that we could see the decisions for these targets and their rationale without having to navigate the FOI process and its stream of blacked-out pages. The parent act and the content of this bill aspire to ensure a framework for effective government. But without a government that is committed to delivering on transparency and accountability, in some ways the bill’s attempt at strengthening good governance is a little hollow. What we need from this government is sufficient land for affordable housing supported by a commitment to openness, better access to decisions and less information blackouts.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (4.58): I stand today to support the Planning, Building and Environment Legislation Bill, or PABELAB, as we like to call it. This PABELAB, as an omnibus bill, will make a range of technical amendments to legislation administered by the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate. It provides a number of benefits which include improving administrative efficiency across government, clarifying decision-making processes and improving consultation with the community.

This bill proposes a number of changes in particular to the City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Act 2017. The first of these changes results in improved administrative efficiency through the delegation of functions. The ability to delegate and to subdelegate, powers will allow the City Renewal Authority and the Suburban Land Agency to undertake their functions with increased efficiency. This will be achieved as functions could be undertaken by additional authorised people to whom power has been delegated.

The bill also provides clarification in relation to the affordable housing targets through minor amendments to section 65 of the act. The changes provide clarity around the application of the affordable housing targets and allow the targets to be expressed as absolute numbers rather than percentages. These changes will provide improved clarity on affordable community and public housing targets for new residential developments in the territory.

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