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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3850 ..

MS VASSAROTTI: I thank the member for the question, but I question using the language of “a building crisis”. There are certainly a range of building quality issues that this jurisdiction is working through—as well as all jurisdictions across Australia. There has been a significant reform process we have been working through over a number of years. The first phase of reforms was reported on last year, and we continue to work on issues as we move forward.

We have identified priority projects in terms of this next phase of reform. We have been working on the registration of particular professions—engineering is the one I have identified as a priority project. We have been working with industry. I was part of a roundtable working with industry on the details of that scheme only a couple of weeks ago. There are a range of reform projects that we are working on. Licensing is part of that issue and we will continue to work with industry to get consistency across different jurisdictions. It is an issue that needs work, but certainly I really question the use of the language of “crisis”.

Planning—western edge

MS CLAY: My question is to the Minister for Planning and Land Management. Minister, there is a lot of high-value, really special ecological land on the western edge of Canberra. That region is likely to contain many endangered and vulnerable species. The ACT government has announced a western edge investigation. When will the scoping and land suitability investigations be complete?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank the member for her question. Yes, there is quite a bit of work that is occurring on the western edge to make sure that we can provide some opportunity for residential construction into the future. We have identified some areas on the western edge for investigation, for example. This will take quite a number of years. There is some funding in this budget, of course—which the Canberra Liberals just voted against!—to do that study. I thought I would get in early with that! It was almost $700,000; I want to put that figure in the Hansard.

Each work that goes ahead for those studied identifies the key important areas that Ms Clay was talking about. We want to make sure that we can protect those ecological sustainable habitats into the future, and, of course, any habitat that is endangered as well. So it will take many years.

MS CLAY: Will the results of those investigations be made public so that they can be included in public consultations about western edge development?

MR GENTLEMAN: Yes, we will make those public. Of course, it is important and I think Canberrans really want to know what is of value in the western edge. So if we find something that needs protecting, we will protect it into the future. I do not want to pre-empt any findings that might come out of those studies. As I mentioned, it will take a couple of years to have those complete. These sorts of pre-development studies take a long time. I think this was initiated back when Mr Barr was the minister for planning—so, quite a number of years ago. It is important that we do the studies to ensure that we can get the appropriate work done for the future.

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