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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1088 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

I have some considerable sympathy for the position being put forward by Mr Corbell. I think the government needs to take notice that there is almost duplicity in the way this matter has been dealt with. I find it quite disturbing that the government should try to do its business on a very significant matter in this way.

MS TUCKER (8.33): We all know that planning in the ACT is a very controversial matter and that the residents of Canberra care very deeply about their city and are very suspicious of proposals that move away from the bush capital heritage. When representatives of the OECD were here recently to study our planning, they expressed surprise at the level of conflict in the ACT around planning issues. The proposal in this regard just confirms what certain members of this Assembly-Mr Kaine, members of the Labor Party and I-have been quite aware of. It must be an indication that things are not being managed properly.

There is concern about the strategic direction, or lack thereof, that this government is taking and there is also concern about the way decisions are being made. The government's proposed policies for residential development in the ACT have served to inflame the ongoing controversy. I do not have a problem with PALM reviewing the existing controls on residential development and putting forward amendments. Obviously, we should be attempting to make ongoing improvements to our planning controls so that we can achieve best practice. However, how PALM goes about that and what the end result will be are controversial issues.

I note that PALM has acknowledged that the changes being proposed in this draft variation would have wide-ranging effects on Canberra's residential areas and that the information presented in the variation was technical and complex. Therefore, it decided to release the proposals for public comment last October, rather than releasing a formal draft variation to the Territory Plan, which would have had interim effect. It concerns me that the government has now announced that it will be releasing the draft plan variation tomorrow, before the issues raised in the community by the government's proposals have been resolved.

As usual with documents of this complexity, there are some good parts and some bad parts. I do not think anyone would disagree with the objectives of these new policies, which are to protect the predominantly low-density, low-rise, leafy character of most established residential areas.

Mr Kaine: It sounds good.

MS TUCKER: It is not quite the vision Mrs Burke was putting, but the objective is to foster creative, high-quality living environments in new and redeveloped areas; to offer a wider variety of attractive and affordable housing choices which meet the changing needs of the ACT community, which was Mrs Burke's point; to promote sustainable, environmentally sensitive development which is less dependent on car travel and which minimises infrastructure and service costs; and to ensure residents have convenient access to needed community and commercial facilities. It all sounds good.

In the document there are more detailed objectives within the individual sections which amplify these points and which I generally agree with. Some are quite idealistic and innovative, such as the section on water harvesting where the objective is to develop the

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