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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 729 ..

Wednesday, 7 March 2001

The Assembly met at 10.30 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Land (Planning and Environment) Amendment Bill 2001

Ms Tucker, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MS TUCKER (10.33): Mr Speaker, I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill removes the provision for defined land in the Land (Planning and Environment) Act. To explain what this means, development in the ACT is governed by the Territory Plan, which sets out the types and scale of buildings that can be built and where they can be built. The land act sets out a process for varying the Territory Plan.

Normally, PALM will put out a draft plan variation for public comment. Once the public consultation period has ended, PALM prepares a final variation which is submitted to the executive and then to the Planning and Urban Services Committee. This committee undertakes its own inquiry into the plan variation and makes recommendations to the executive. The executive then finalises the variation and tables it in the Assembly, where it can be disallowed by members if they so wish. The process is a complicated one, but at least it is a publicly accountable one where the final say on the variation rests with the Assembly.

However, this process can be circumvented by the use of the so-called defined land provision in the land act. Once an area is classified as defined land under the Territory Plan through a previous plan variation, it is possible for PALM to further vary the Territory Plan in relation to the defined area of land without having to go through the normal plan variation process involving public consultation and the Assembly.

The original reasoning for having the defined land provision was that it would provide a simple process for plan variation in greenfield areas while land was being subdivided. In the past, broad land use zones such as residential areas, major roads, school sites and commercial centres were specified when land was defined and then the detailed boundaries of these zones would be set by PALM as subdivision progressed.

The defined land provision has been used extensively in Gungahlin, where whole new suburbs have been defined before their subdivision. However, I have received a number of complaints on how the defined land provisions have been used, or perhaps I should say abused, which bring into doubt the validity of this provision.

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