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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3968 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

We have planning laws so that there is a process in place that the community can have confidence in and that is accountable. You could argue that ultimately the Minister is accountable because he has to stand up for re-election, but, unfortunately, a lot of damage can be done in three years, as we know too well.

I will not be supporting Mr Corbell's piece of legislation on the call-in powers. Obviously, I am supporting my own. May I move that the debate be adjourned until a later time this day? No, I cannot. Someone else can do that.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, that is right.

Debate (on motion by Mr Wood ) adjourned.


Debate resumed from 13 October 1999, on motion by Ms Tucker:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR CORBELL (11.45): Mr Speaker, I understand that I may speak in this debate, so I will make a couple of comments in relation to Labor's view in relation to this Bill. As Ms Tucker indicated earlier, she does not believe there is a role for the exercise of the ministerial call-in power - the power of the Minister to determine, either in favour or against, a development application. This approach, I believe, would have some merit if it was in the context of a truly independent planning system with a planning authority with statutory independence from the Minister for planning. Only then could you be absolutely confident that planning decisions were made without any government intervention.

However, Mr Speaker, that is not the system that operates in the Territory today. The system that operates in the Territory today is a planning system where the planning agency is directly responsible to the Minister for planning, and it does not have the statutory independence that many in this Territory would like it to have.

In light of that there are, I believe, grounds for the exercise of a ministerial call-in power, and, contrary to what Ms Tucker argues, there must be criteria under which that power is exercised. That, of course, is the intention of my Bill, the debate on which we have just adjourned.

Mr Speaker, you cannot remove a call-in power in the way Ms Tucker is proposing under the current system because under the current system there will be on occasion the need for the Government, any government, to require a development application to proceed or to be stopped in the interests of the Territory, in the interests of the furtherance of the planning objectives of the Territory or in the public interest overall. For that reason the Labor Party will not be supporting the Bill put forward by Ms Tucker today in relation to the call-in powers.

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