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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1704 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

I believe that the ladies and gentlemen of PALM, the staff of PALM, are doing a tremendous job that largely goes unacknowledged. The vast majority of applications go through without complaint, on time and are approved according to the Territory Plan. Of course, there are some developments that cause us all some angst and things like that. We hear about Kinlyside and we hear about Manuka. I guess the bottom line for something like Manuka is that ultimately at Manuka we will have more car parking spaces than a certain candidate received votes.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (9.22): Mr Speaker, in this debate we on this side of the house have decided not to respond to things we have responded to many times before. I would like to make the point for the Hansard record that not responding to things we have responded to four million times before does not mean that we accept them in any way; it just means that we will not be as boring as those opposite. We all know that land was never granted to anybody at Kinlyside. In the case of the Yarralumla Brickworks, no proposal ever went forward to planning. Mr Speaker, I would rather have can-do people working for me than the never-will people opposite.

MS TUCKER (9.23): Mr Speaker, I also do not think I will go into lengthy diatribes again about things I have talked about before, but I would like to make one or two comments. I have said already tonight that I think there are concerns about how much control has been taken in Chief Minister's in a number of areas, and the consequential lack of consistency and use of expertise in other departments. It certainly did become obvious in the Estimates Committee's questioning on planning issues. The question of the city, Labor's complaints about planning, and whether or not they were just as incompetent is not, to me, of great import. What I am concerned about is what is happening now. I have always said that I did not think Labor had it together with planning in the last Assembly. They worked with the Liberal Party, in fact, to reduce the possibility of us making the Land Act a better piece of legislation, with the amendments Michael Moore and the Greens put up on that Bill. But we are hearing that Labor are looking again at their approach to planning this time, and I believe that they are.

Talking about Harcourt Hill or anywhere else is not important at this point. What is important is that we have had claims made by this Government currently that they will be taking a coordinated and strategic approach to planning. That, clearly, has not happened. There have been huge issues around Kinlyside. There have been stuff-ups with Manuka, section 56, the ROCKS and the Canberra Centre. They are all a problem. They are not dealt with in any strategic context. We still do not have a retail strategy. It is still, I am afraid, developer-led planning to a large degree. Some of the processes are marginally improved as the outrage occurs and is loud enough to cause government to improve, but it is such a wasted opportunity in a way. We could be doing planning so much better and it would save everyone a lot of trouble, including the Government. It is not a question of saying we cannot do anything. The can-do merchants have been referred to. I do not think anyone is opposing doing things. It is how you do it, once again, that really matters, and that obviously is not something that the Government has worked out at this point.

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