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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1519 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

It is appropriate to provide some background to the variation itself. It was proclaimed in July 1997 and extends the range of uses permitted in local shopping centres to make them more viable. For example, Mr Speaker, it permits redevelopment to residential or other use if a particular local centre is proven to be not viable, and it requires any redevelopment to be of an appropriate scale that is compatible with surrounding development. Also, the variation has guidelines setting out how viability is to be assessed. It is not enough simply to state that the shops are not viable. It must be proven against these guidelines. This entails scrutiny of shop turnover levels, rents, number of vacant shops and the degree of consultation with owners and tenants.

The guidelines stipulate that the local community should be consulted before a formal proposal for redevelopment of a local centre is lodged. Only after this consultation has been completed and taken into account by the developer can he or she submit a formal application to the department's Planning and Land Management Group. PALM is then required to institute a formal public notification process.

Against this background, Mr Speaker, I will now outline why members of the Urban Services Committee are interested in the variation. Members know that there is a significant degree of community concern in the Aranda and Latham areas about what might happen to their local shopping centres. This concern has arisen following the consultation process instituted by the developer in relation to redeveloping both centres, the consultation process required by the guidelines before any proposal is lodged. These mark the first use of variation No. 64.

Mr Speaker, in view of the potential for redevelopment to alter well-established land use patterns at local shopping centres such as those at Aranda and Latham, we want the public to know that an appropriate committee of the Assembly is monitoring the process. Therefore, we have issued a media release and placed advertisements in the local press inviting public comment on the future redevelopment of shopping centres such as Latham and Aranda in view of variation No. 64.

At a future stage the committee expects to advise the parliament about the manner in which variation No. 64 is implemented. This will enable all members of the parliament and especially the Executive to be informed about the manner in which the important planning change is being handled. As members would expect, I have advised the Minister for Urban Services of the committee's decision. I took the opportunity in my letter to the Minister to emphasise that the committee in no way wishes to cut across the existing processes which will see a formal redevelopment application come before PALM at some time. However, the committee wants it known that, if the application of variation No. 64 raises problems not foreseen by the members of the last parliament who passed it, then my committee may bring forward a recommendation that the Government revisit the variation. I commend this statement to the parliament.

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement on the same matter.

Leave granted.

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