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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3966 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

planning system, for instance, is not a business tool. You should not be using the planning laws to disrupt a rival business, to slow down their entry into the market or their expansion. That is not what the planning system is about and that is not what good planning is about. When people want to undertake planning activity in the ACT it is very important that they can do so with certainty and in the knowledge that where due process is followed it will flow through.

We believe we can live with what Mr Corbell is suggesting. It is accommodated in what the Government already does as a matter of principle. We do not believe that what Ms Tucker proposes in her amendment adds anything at all to the planning process, and with that in mind we will oppose her Bill.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.36): I rise to speak in my independent capacity on planning matters. I always separate myself from the Government on these maters. I am pleased to be speaking to both these pieces of legislation. I think the criteria put up by Mr Corbell are very sensible criteria and I will be supporting the legislation, as indeed the Government is. The amendment seems to me to be a sensible one. In fact, I discussed this issue with Mr Corbell the other day without having come up with an amendment to that effect. I think this is a good solution along the lines of the discussion that we had.

I think it will be very important for us to monitor what happens here. I do have an underlying concern that if the appeal mechanism becomes the order of the day there may be a situation where a Supreme Court decision overturns a decision of the Assembly. I think that is something we need to monitor, remembering that the system put up by Mr Corbell does not have an appeal system to the Assembly other than the normal process of somebody using the Assembly to require a Minister to take some particular action. If we get that impact we should deal with it, but I think it is a small risk. I think it is unlikely that that will happen and therefore it is appropriate to proceed.

I would like to move on to the legislation proposed by Ms Tucker. I had noted that Ms Tucker's legislation was about broadening the appeal system and had reacted immediately by saying, "Yes, as a general rule I would support broadening the appeal mechanism where we can so that people have rights to appeal over the development". Then I had some concerns with it and Ms Tucker said to me this morning something to this effect: "Can you look at it carefully and make sure you do understand where we are going with the appeal?". I did so and I must say it increased my concerns rather than minimising them. I understand what it is that Ms Tucker is trying to achieve but I think that this appeal mechanism will go too far because of some probably unintended consequences as I see them.

We are talking about single dwellings. We are talking about appeals and informing neighbours of the approach that is being taken. We already have a system in place so that when somebody seeks to go beyond the set rules there has to be an appeal mechanism. Let me give an example. If somebody wants to build closer than 1.5 metres to a boundary, there are times when that is appropriate, such as for a garage or for some other reason, and there is an appeal mechanism now in place. So Ms Tucker's Bill does not add to that. There is a notification mechanism now in place for that process.

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