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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 357 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

This raises issues about the role of the Assembly in scrutinising the appointment of the chief planner and, indeed, other statutory positions. This is currently governed by the Statutory Appointments Act, and I am interested in looking at how this process can be improved, possibly through the work of committees in this area.

There is also a need to create a statutory planning authority as opposed to just a statutory chief planner. There needs to be a clear line of reporting between the chief planner and his or her staff rather than just having the staff as part of a larger department with sometimes conflicting reporting arrangements to other senior executives. This will require a restructuring of PALM and Urban Services, which will be up to the government to implement. If Mr Corbell is the next planning minister, then I will be expecting him to make sure that we have a truly independent planning authority.

In conclusion, the Greens will be supporting this bill as one small step along the way to getting a more accountable and professional planning system in the ACT, but we are not getting too excited by this bill. There are still many other actions that need to be taken. As members would know, I have put forward a number of bills to improve various aspects of the planning appeal system in the ACT, because I think it is essential for good planning to have strong checks and balances on the discretion currently exercised by the planners. I also think that if we want to create a truly sustainable city there needs to be a range of changes to the Territory Plan itself and to the various guidelines employed by the planners to assess developments. If this bill is passed, I look forward to working with the chief planner to achieve these changes.

MR KAINE (11.02): I indicate up front that I support the general principle inherent in the bill that Mr Corbell has put forward that there should be an independent planning authority. I do believe that, because of the political ramifications of much of what happens in the planning sphere, it is better to have a separation of politicians from the administration of land management policy. As far as I am concerned, this is a step in the right direction to restore the position where there was an independent planning authority.

However, the mere establishment of a territory planner does not go nearly far enough in resolving all of the issues that are inherent in the planning function. For example, I believe that we now need to review the land management act and the Territory Plan to define, for example, the relationship between the minister and the chief planner. To merely establish a planner without going further and determining what the relationship between this person and the minister is going to be, what the working arrangements are going to be, what the minister is empowered to do and what the chief planner is empowered to do, we are not really addressing the problem.

When as planning minister I drafted the present law and the present Territory Plan back in 1990-91-they were in fact put in place by Rosemary Follett after she regained government-I said at the time that this new plan and this new law were merely a new basis from which change would occur. You cannot set in concrete a plan and a law in the field of planning and expect it still to be valid 10 or 20 years downstream.

After 10 years or so there is a realisation that we need to review the planning process, the planning law. Mr Corbell's bill is merely the first step in what I believe has to be a long process of reviewing the law and the plan, to see whether what we wrote 10 or 12 years

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