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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1331 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

By Mr Corbell's own admission, the chief minister would not be an independent planning officer. Mr Speaker, what we have here is something that should be rejected. It should be rejected because, like so much of what Mr Corbell says and does on planning, it is not well considered. I will quickly run through a litany of things in that regard. He pointed out that the government had decided on a 5 per cent urban open space threshold in development, whereas it was the previous Labor government that did that. He said that we have a constant dash for cash in the land sell off, yet they sold something like 11,000 blocks in four years and we sold just over 3,000 blocks in five years.

Mr Corbell said that we were the dual occupancy kings and half a suburb was disappearing every year, yet they approved dual occupancies at twice the rate that we did. Mr Corbell stated that we did not care about urban open space because we were doing an audit and it has been shown that again he was wrong on that. He said that we were not protecting the environment, yet we are the ones that are putting the land back into the reserve system with the 100 hectares of yellow box/red gum ecological community. Mr Humphries, when he was the planning minister, shifted an entire town centre. We will not go ahead now with the Jerrabomberra town centre. With so much of what Mr Corbell says you take at face value. When you hear it said up front, you think that he is being forthright and telling us that it is what it is, but when you look into what he says you find that so much of it is just incorrect.

Mr Speaker, I will finish by saying that the government will oppose this bill. The bill should not be supported. It does not establish what it purports to establish. The case for having such an independent planning person has not been established either. As Mr Corbell is quick to point out, although independent, the chief planner would be subservient to the planning minister and the Assembly. Mr Speaker, this bill should go down.

MR OSBORNE (11.22): Mr Speaker, I have been fortunate in that in my electorate of Brindabella there have been very few planning disputes. Perhaps that is a reflection of the lessons learned by planners from mistakes made in other parts of the city, but it is a new part of Canberra. To help me to come to grips with Mr Corbell's legislation for an independent chief planner, I met several times with Ms Jacqui Rees, who is well known to most people in here. She was very helpful and quickly brought me up to speed with the pros and cons of Mr Corbell's legislation.

I will say from the outset that I will not be supporting this legislation. However, I do agree with many of the sentiments of Mr Corbell's ideas and with the concept of having an independent chief planner, but I also support having an independent planning authority. I think that they need to be done together. I believe that whatever changes are needed to achieve that really need to be made as one, rather than having one piece at a time, as this bill proposes.

An even greater concern for me is that I believe that these changes really need to be done from the position of government. That would ensure that whatever changes made would be adequately funded, because I do not think you can make changes of this nature without allocating the funds for the independent planner or the independent planning authority actually to operate.

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