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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2324 ..

MS HORODNY (continuing):

Let me, therefore, use this opportunity to state which side of the fence the Greens are on when it comes to considering these matters that we split on. Let me say from the outset that the Greens wholeheartedly support the retention of the leasehold system in recognition of the fact that land is primarily a community resource. We recognise, however, that the pure leasehold system has been considerably modified over time so that it is not really possible to return to its original formulation. The Greens, therefore, support the automatic renewal of residential leases and also the extension of rural leases. The Greens also wholeheartedly support the establishment of an independent planning authority, as does Mr Moore, and reject the Government's proposals to split planning between the Chief Minister's Department and the new Division of Planning and Land Management in the Department of Urban Services.

I do not agree that the Chief Minister's Department should be responsible for the strategic planning of land use. There are huge concerns that environmental and social considerations, which underlie land planning, will be swamped by short-term economic considerations. Strategic land planning should still be the responsibility of professional planners, reporting to a planning Minister, with input from other parts of the administration, as required. The Greens support the integration of land planning and management to ensure that planning policies are implemented correctly. We are concerned, however, that the proposed Planning and Land Management Division appears to be a re-creation of the previously abolished Department of the Environment, Land and Planning, but without the environment, and submerged within a much larger Department of Urban Services. We are not convinced that the previous deficiencies in land administration within DELP are not going to be repeated, particularly in terms of ensuring that the planning function is not subservient to the land development function.

The benefits of having an independent planning authority are that it ensures accountability over planning decisions. We do not want the situation where major planning decisions are being taken by faceless officials in the bureaucracy. I note that the Government has attempted to address this issue by proposing the establishment of a Commissioner for Land and Planning. The Greens support the concept of independent and transparent decision-making over development and lease variation applications, but we believe this can best be done through the establishment of an independent planning authority. The Government's proposal here is too fragmented and complex.

On the other hand, the Greens do not believe that we have to accept every word of the Stein report. Stein's recommendations to establish a land management authority, a Territory planning authority and a planning and land management corporation are also fairly complex, and we would be willing to consider proposals from the Government to introduce a simpler structure that still meets the objectives identified by Stein. Our bottom line, however, is that we want all planning to be integrated in one organisation, and we want this organisation to be directly accountable to the Minister and the Assembly. We do not want this organisation buried in another department.

On the question of betterment or change of use charge, the Greens support the levying of this charge at 100 per cent, but allowing remissions of no less than 50 per cent in very specific cases where there would be significant community benefit provided by the development. It is critical, however, that decisions over such remissions are fully transparent and subject to Assembly review. The Greens also believe that the

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