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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 1802 ..

Local Area Planning

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, my question is for Mr Humphries as Minister for Planning. Is it true that your Chief Planner informed the Area 1 LAPAC that local area planning has been handed over to LAPACs and that by early November this LAPAC must develop a response to a variation which would allow a three-storey development?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Ms Tucker for the question. I was not present at the meeting of LAPAC Area 1. Mr Tomlins provided assistance and advice to the LAPAC meeting. Mr Speaker, the position of the Government is that the LAPACs, having now been set up, are to be given two principal tasks. The first is to assess applications for development or other land use within their area, which would normally be notifiable so that the residents of an area would normally have the capacity to make submissions to the Planning Authority. In a sense, the LAPACs are able to filter, accept or process community concern about particular development applications.

The second task is to do with ongoing planning issues such as the development of awareness guidelines and consideration of variations to the Territory Plan. I understand that LAPAC Area 1 was asked to consider draft variation 33 to the Territory Plan. All three LAPACs have been asked to do the same thing. The draft variation has been in existence for something like a year and is, I think, operating on an interim basis to put certain restrictions on certain land uses in the Territory, pending the outcome of the process whereby the Assembly determines whether that variation should become a permanent variation to the Territory Plan.

Mr Speaker, in my view, the Assembly should move quite soon to deal with that issue. Having established LAPACs, we are in a position now to go through the process of community consultation to do that. I make no apologies if Mr Tomlins indeed said to the LAPAC that they should begin to look at the question of whether draft variation 33 becomes a permanent variation to the Territory Plan. As I understand it, they have asked for an extension of two weeks for that process, which the Government is prepared to grant, because we want the job done properly if that is at all possible. It is important for this longstanding issue to be dealt with fairly soon, because the variation has been on the table now for a year and many important commercial issues, among other things, are resting on the outcome of that variation. I think it is appropriate that we move as a community to resolve the issue.

MS TUCKER: I ask a supplementary question. Given that the time has been so short, are you providing extra resources to assist the LAPACs to make this very significant decision?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, first of all, I do not think the time has been particularly short. The issue has been on the table for a very long period of time, and many members of the LAPACs would have had considerable contact with the issues raised in draft variation 33. In the six weeks or so that I roughly calculate they have available to them to look at this issue, of course resources will be made available to the LAPACs.

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