Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2686 ..
MS HORODNY (continuing):
would be much happier without the annoyance of people in the ACT. Tourists could wander around the monuments without having locals getting in the way, while Federal politicians would be free to walk the lake without fear of being pestered by disgruntled constituents.
Mr Humphries: To walk on the lake?
MS HORODNY: To walk the lake. Unfortunately for the Commonwealth, Canberra is populated by over 300,000 people. This town should be, first and foremost, a town for them. The planning should fit in with their needs. The needs of tourists and of Commonwealth politicians should come second, but the NCPA does not see it that way. They do not really care about the people of the ACT and have no qualms about imposing costly national planning standards at our expense. One good example is the new link between the two court buildings. For our needs, a safe and aesthetic link would do, but the NCPA requires that the link be partially submerged to fit in with their lofty ideas on how Canberra should look. This is at the local community's expense. This requirement, which we are obliged to adhere to, adds little other than a huge cost to the construction.
The Commonwealth does have a role to play in the planning of this town; but it should be as part of one planning agency, not two, and it should be in consultation with the people of Canberra. The people on the board of this planning authority should be for the most part Canberrans, rather than ring-ins from interstate, and its principal objectives should be planning for the wellbeing of the people of Canberra and its environment first, and the tourists and the politicians second.
MR KAINE (10.36), in reply: Mr Speaker, it is clear that there is general support for the notion inherent in the motion I put to the Assembly. I would guess that the Minister, from his words during the debate, will pursue this as a matter of some importance. Having put forward this motion, however, and listened to the debate, I think we need to sound a word of warning. We have tried two different forms for planning arrangements in the Territory over the years. The first was the all-powerful single planning authority called the National Capital Development Commission. Many people found fault with the way that system operated because it was too arbitrary. Yet when we look at the city today, and Ms Horodny talked about people having a city they want to live in, I think it is difficult to say that the NCDC in a physical sense did not do a great job. But, even then, people were not happy with the way they did their business, and in some respects people today are critical of the result in the structural sense as well. So we tried that system and we did not like it.
With the coming of self-government, it was decided that there would be two planning authorities. The intent behind that, I thought, was good. There was recognition of the fact that the Commonwealth did have an interest in this place and therefore needed to have its own mechanisms for influencing what happens here. However, a local ACT Planning Authority was set up because it was also recognised that the people who live here have some rights too. At the time, it was thought the two authorities would work side by side in harmony and the result would be beneficial. Those of us who have experienced that for the last six or seven years have some reservations about it now. Some of us had reservations then, and they have been borne out by the experience of the last six to seven years.