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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2831 ..

Wednesday, 25 November 1998


MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


MS TUCKER (10.32): I present the Land (Planning and Environment) (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MS TUCKER: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, this Bill primarily contains two amendments to the Land (Planning and Environment) Act. The first amendment expands the provisions in the Act regarding minor amendments to development approvals. The second amendment expands the third-party appeal rights against decisions on development applications.

Let me first describe the changes to the minor amendments provision in the Act. At present, a lessee who holds an approval to undertake a development may apply to amend it. If PALM is satisfied that it is a minor amendment then the approval can be amended without notifying any third parties, such as neighbours or persons who previously objected to the development. There are also no appeal rights against such amendments. This is much simpler than the normal development approval process, because it is considered that minor amendments do not warrant as much attention as a new development application. Unfortunately, the lack of transparency in this process means that it could be abused by amendments being approved as minor amendments which do, in fact, have major impacts on the surrounding neighbourhood.

This issue was brought to my attention last year by an example of how this process can be abused. In Brown Street, Yarralumla, an application to build a very large house that took up nearly the whole block had generated many objections from surrounding residents because of the overshadowing it would cause. After discussions with the objectors, PALM approved the development, but with a number of conditions, including a reduction in the height of the building. The residents would have preferred tougher conditions, but thought they had reached a compromise with the landowner and PALM.

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