Page 3159 - Week 10 - Thursday, 16 September 1993

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Thursday, 16 September 1993


MADAM SPEAKER (Ms McRae) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MR WOOD (Minister for Education and Training, Minister for the Arts and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (10.31): I present the Land (Planning and Environment) (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) 1993.

Title read by Clerk.

MR WOOD: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991, the land Act, provides a new regime for dealing with planning, heritage, environment and land matters. When it was introduced it was accepted that, because of its complex nature, there would be a need for ongoing review of its provisions. In the time since the land Act first commenced and people have become familiar with its requirements, concerns have been raised about some of the operations under the Act. In this context the value of the inquiry of the Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Infrastructure into the land Act is recognised. However, the matters in the present Bill are sufficiently urgent to proceed now.

The first provision of the Bill relates to public works. By virtue of Schedules 4 and 5, "public works", being the erection or installation of works by or on behalf of the Government, is a controlled activity for the purposes of the land Act. However, "public works" is also a controlled activity for the purposes of the Buildings (Design and Siting) Act 1964. Such controls recognise that public works could have an impact on Canberra's environment and, as such, they should be considered in light of the town planning requirements of the affected areas.

This dual control over public works - one over land use; the other in respect of design and siting concerns - makes them subject to more onerous approval requirements than similar private enterprise works. This is not justified by the nature of such works. To date, the regulations have been used to exempt public works from various provisions of Part VI, but a more satisfactory arrangement needs to be put into place. There is no scope for unnecessary duplication of resources. The Bill therefore provides that public works will be removed as a controlled activity from the land Act. Public works will still remain a controlled activity for the purposes of the design and siting Act.

Another key provision of the Bill relates to public comments on draft plan variations. The land Act provides that, where a draft plan variation has been received from the ACT Planning Authority, the Executive shall either approve the draft plan variation or return it to the authority with appropriate directions.

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