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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 August 2019) . . Page.. 2588 ..

The committee will not be inquiring further into the matters raised in petition 4-19.

Executive business—precedence

Ordered that executive business be called on.

Planning and Development (Design Review Panel) Amendment Bill 2019

Debate resumed from 16 May 2019, on motion by Mr Gentleman:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (11.15): I will be speaking to this bill on behalf of the opposition given that Mr Parton is absent from the Assembly today.

The legislation seeks to enshrine into legislation the use of a design review panel. The panels have been in operation since 2017 in conjunction with the National Capital Authority for projects that have significance and cross over to national precincts. The bill also seeks to broaden the use of the design review panel to encompass developments along town centres that are deemed significant and deals with a threshold development proposal for buildings and developments which are over five storeys in height.

A few issues have been raised with the opposition about this bill, particularly by those in industry, around some fix-ups that should have been included in the bill but have not been. We as the opposition, and also the industry, are going to be keeping a very close watching eye on how they operate in practice going forward. They specifically relate to no clarification or certainty around whose advice or decisions are binding.

There have been issues with proposals that have gone through the design and review panel in its interim phase where the design and review panel has made recommendations to change the design of a building. These designs are often aesthetic and in many instances have had detrimental impacts on the viability of projects. But as those changes have been incorporated into the plans and then submitted to the territory for the development application process, they have been rejected because the changes were no longer then consistent with the Territory Plan. Industry is significantly concerned that they will go to significant lengths to submit their designs to the design review panel only to be given feedback, do the right thing and incorporate that feedback then be knocked back at the development application stage because those changes have made the design inconsistent with the Territory Plan.

There needs to be further clarity around whether or not the design review panel advice is only advisory or if it is binding and required to be adhered to in order for approval to be granted; and, in instances where there is an inconsistency, whose decision is final. It is a worrying place to be placing industry in.

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