Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1370 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
they have not been determined as yet. We will work out how best and how most appropriately to use this technology to reduce the death toll that we have in the ACT. What we need to do is make sure that we use it effectively, and we will.
MR CORBELL: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Can the Minister explain to the Assembly why one-quarter of all development applications other than single dwellings will not be assessed by PALM within the statutory timeframes under the Land Act as a result of the 1999-2000 budget?
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, it is pleasing to see that Mr Corbell has an interest in planning matters. Recent figures that I have had have shown, after years of decline in the time to process applications, the result of the review that we implemented and put in place. For instance, the March figures have shown a remarkable turnaround on the applications. We will continue to implement those reforms to make sure that we serve all Canberrans, whether they be residents or developers, and get the best outcomes in the planning system.
MR CORBELL: I take it that is a yes. Minister, in a press release on 13 January this year in relation to the Ernst and Young review of PALM you stated that "PALM has recognised and is responding to the need to provide better value for money and has put in place a sound reform agenda". Will you explain to the Assembly how this statement can be reconciled with the impact of the budget on the assessment of building applications, and that it actually represents a false economy rather than providing better value for money to the ACT community? Lastly, will you confirm that PALM has reduced its target from 85 per cent to 75 per cent of all development applications outside single dwellings being assessed within the statutory time limits?
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, it is curious to hear the Labor Party speak of false economy. They are the ones who implemented enormous numbers of voluntary redundancies at absolutely no gain to the economy for the people of the ACT. As we have said, we will implement the reforms that Ernst and Young suggested in their review of PALM so that we will deliver a far more effective and a far speedier assessment system to meet the needs of both residents and developers in the ACT.
MR RUGENDYKE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, on 26 May last year I informed you of details of a proposal from SOCOG to include free public transport and tickets to games events held in Sydney next year. The free transport proposal was to be applicable to a zone extending from Scone in the north-west to Goulburn in the south-west but excluding the ACT. Due to the fact that our city has committed itself to a $27m project, or, now, a $32m project, at Bruce Stadium in order to host Olympic soccer, I asked the Chief Minister to personally write to the Olympics Minister, Mr Michael Knight, urging him to reconsider the proposal to include the ACT in the free transport zone. Chief Minister, tickets for Olympic events go on sale in