Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1040 ..
has been happening; the directorate has been extremely busy. All these works and projects collectively contribute to planning and caring for our wonderful bush capital. They make sure we are building on the important history of the traditional custodians and leaving it in great shape for future generations.
MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (10.29): We are pleased to see that the ACT planning system review and reform project is a priority in this budget. Planning is incredibly important. It regulates our space, and it impacts on the way we relate to each other and to our natural environment. In estimates recently, my planning, transport and city services committee recommended that the ACT government put forward specific proposals for a revised planning system. This will let the ACT community consider, respond and contribute.
There is a lot of community concern about this planning review, but not many details have been provided yet. People really want to engage—there is so much expertise here in Canberra—and I welcome and encourage upcoming opportunities for the public to do so. We need consultation on the detail as well as on the big picture. And we need that to happen before the legislation is released. Once the law has been drafted, people feel that it is too late. That means we need targeted and deliberative consultation right now. Some of the key stakeholders also need the chance to provide input. The conservation council, the Environmental Defenders Office and the community councils all have a wealth of experience, and we need to capture that.
In their response to recommendations made from estimates committee hearings, the government have stated that community and industry engagement will be undertaken on some elements of the system. I look forward to seeing that quite soon. We are pleased that we are meeting our target that 70 per cent of new development be within Canberra’s existing urban footprint. We cannot keep sprawling forever. This is something I am watching closely, to ensure that we protect our greenfield areas and our threatened biodiversity.
We need to get much better ecological outcomes for our plants and wildlife. Canberra should be an urban biodiversity sanctuary for our region. Billions of animals died in the recent climate-induced bushfires, and we need to protect what habitat we have left. With this in mind, I look forward to seeing the results of the western edge study, to see how much of this beautiful greenfield area can be protected. This area has strong environmental values; preserving it is essential, particularly given that we are in a climate emergency.
Part of ensuring that we have well-cared-for nature reserves is providing funding and support for ParkCare, Landcare and catchment groups. They do much of the work to ensure that our trees are planted and our weeds are removed. They protect our species and our waterways, and they just keep an eye on things on the ground to see what is going wrong.
I have been privileged to have joined many of these groups over the last few months, working with the Friends of Mount Painter, Friends of Aranda Bushland, south Belconnen Landcare and Friends of Gossan Hill. I am hoping to visit every group