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Ministerial Statement

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Arts and Heritage and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on the Planning and Heritage Ministers council meeting held in Brisbane on 11 April this year.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank members. I do not think any Labor members from the ACT were present at this meeting; so, they should not really attempt to take any credit for the success of that meeting. Just before Easter a series of ministerial council meetings were held in Brisbane. The meetings included the ministerial council on housing; planning; heritage; and local government; and the meeting of the Ministers for Construction. I would like to inform members of the Assembly of the outcome of the considerations of the two ministerial councils that relate to the responsibilities of my portfolio; that is, the council meetings on planning and on heritage.

These meetings of relevant Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories are, of course, held annually in one of the capital cities and provide the opportunity to discuss matters of mutual concern. Until a few years ago, those meetings were held almost at random; but, as a result of an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments, they were consolidated into a more structured system, where ministerial council meetings were grouped into a few megameetings that allowed discussion of related matters. The recent group of meetings was those related to planning, development and construction. The ACT was represented at these and other meetings held as a part of the same exercise by my colleague Mr Stefaniak. Mr Stefaniak was advised by the Chief Planner and the senior officer of the Office of Culture and Heritage in the Department of the Environment, Land and Planning.

The agendas for those meetings consist of items nominated by the participants, and papers are prepared by the sponsoring Ministers. Most meetings deal with about a dozen matters, and this meeting was no different. The agenda for the Planning Ministers Council meeting covered items as diverse as native title, contaminated land and compliance by Commonwealth bodies with State, Territory and local planning, heritage and environment legislation. The agenda for consideration by the Heritage Ministers covered items such as a report on the taxation incentive scheme for heritage conservation introduced last year; the strategy for identifying and conserving significant Federation sites, leading up to Australia's centenary; and the economic effects of heritage listing.

I would now like to comment briefly on the significant matters raised at the planning and heritage meetings and to advise members of the details of the resolutions that were agreed. High on the agenda for the Planning Ministers was the item “Cooperative Arrangements for Planning and Investment: Commonwealth-State Cooperation in Planning and Development of Nationally Significant Urban Corridors or Regions”. It was noted that the Commonwealth and Queensland governments have commenced preliminary discussions on the options for formalising cooperative

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