Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4147 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
implement them. If the Government wants to appoint business people to all the other positions on the board, that is their choice. But at least three positions should be specified in the Bill. I hope to get support for this because I recall from the debates on the Gungahlin Development Authority that we did get support from government and Labor. There was no dissenting voice, except Mr Moore, who at that time opposed the whole development of an authority. He saw it as an anomalous process of planning at the time.
MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (5.21): I have to indicate our opposition to Ms Tucker's amendment. First of all, Ms Tucker made the point: "Well, if we cannot make regulations before the Bill has been through the Assembly, how can we make appointments or proposed appointments?". The answer is very simple, Mr Speaker. Generally speaking, it is the case that the Assembly will consider the establishment of such matters. If we have the legislation passed at all, then we have appointments as indicated in the Government's proposal. But if the Assembly chooses to change the characteristics required for the board, then the Government has to go back and simply choose new people. There is not a great deal of work is involved in that, although there is some embarrassment, perhaps, to those who have been chosen, where they have been selected by the Government on a provisional basis and then it appears their position or qualifications are not to be acceptable.
With respect to regulations, it is quite common that there will be extensive amendments on the floor of the Assembly for legislation that comes before it which could necessitate extensive redrafting. A lot of time, effort and bureaucratic resources go into that exercise. It does not make sense to engage in an extensive process of drafting regulations, in most cases before the legislation itself is passed. The difference between these two cases is one of how many resources go into the two sorts of exercises.
The Government is opposed to the idea of limiting who may sit on the board in the way that Ms Tucker has suggested, simply because to do so overlooks the most fundamentally important task that lies before the Development Authority board; that is, to examine the best way to be able to provide for a commercially sustainable development in that sensitive part of the ACT. I realise Ms Tucker would regard environmental sustainability as of paramount consideration. The Government has already built into its legislation a requirement that environmental sustainability be a feature of the process of any kind of development in the ACT, and this is no exception.
Still, Mr Speaker, we have got a fundamental over-arching requirement that this be financially and commercially sustainable. There is no point having, for example, the board say, "Yes, we think that this sort of housing and these sorts of shops and this kind of development would be environmental extremely nice to have. From a town planning point of view it would make a really nice appearance and setting. Yes, the people of south Canberra would be very comfortable with this kind of development", if at the end of the day the community does not get a proposal which is going to stack up in commercial terms.