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The ACT Planning Authority is proposing a variation to the Territory Plan which, among other things, will amend conditions relating to the operation of home occupations. It is proposed to include in the home occupations criteria that the operation of the business does not cause unreasonable annoyance, nuisance or danger and is not unduly offensive to any tenant or occupier of adjoining land, or words to that effect. The other thing, Mr Speaker, would be an upgrading of the level of protection offered to residents of adjoining blocks of land, to ensure that they have the opportunity to take reasonable objection when those sorts of rules are being put in place. The variation will also amend the criterion which relates to pollution and health controls by adding “and any other relevant legislation applying in the Territory”. So, things like Public Health Act concerns or ACT Occupational Health and Safety Act concerns can be built into the concerns which are raised as the basis for saying that the particular business carries on offensive conduct on a site which might not therefore be permitted under the Territory Plan. These proposed amendments will, in due course, be brought before the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment.
I indicate also, Mr Speaker, that the particular matters which were raised by RORE were addressed by officers of the Department of the Environment, Land and Planning, who visited at least one of the sites concerned and spoke to the residents of that site. I understand that arrangements are in place for the cleaning up of those sites and for that particular behaviour with respect to trash packs not to be repeated. I have written to RORE, indicating that I am very happy to continue to monitor the situation, and I have invited them to advise me if there are any ongoing incidents of concern.
MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a personal explanation under standing order 46.
MR SPEAKER: Yes; proceed.
MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, in providing further information in relation to the question asked by Mr Kaine in the previous sitting, Mr Humphries has suggested that my original raising of this matter was inappropriate and that I should be apologising for having raised it. Mr Speaker, I am more than satisfied with the result that has been obtained by raising this matter, and I am sure that Mr Gration will be, because the result has been that Mr Humphries and his officers have worked with Telstra to overcome the faults which, Mr Humphries has indicated in his answer, did appear to be occurring with Telstra’s switching equipment. Everything that was in my original claim was Mr Gration's explanation of what happened. He did make a call, which was answered by someone identifying themselves as a police officer, and I think it was reasonable for me, in good faith, to reflect that. Mr Humphries has conceded that he is not disputing Mr Gration's version of events. If, in the process of raising what I believe I did legitimately, some police officers have felt that it was inappropriate for me to accurately reflect what my constituent told me and have taken offence at that, then I am very sorry about that and I regret any distress that it has caused them; but I do not think it was inappropriate to raise it. I am very satisfied with the outcome.