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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1332 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

I think the most sensible thing would be not to support the bill. We are just a few months away from our own election and to take only half a step towards providing some sort of independence in the planning process is not really sensible. I believe that having an independent chief planner would only work within the framework of having an independent planning body.

As a final comment, I think that the Labor Party has been somewhat creative recently in its version of Canberra's planning history. Several of the problems that have been pointed out with our present system are, I believe, the result of ALP decisions when they were in government a number of years ago-not Mr Corbell, of course, because he was not part of that government-and not, as they would have us believe, as a result of the actions of somebody else.

The sorts of problems that this legislation is supposed to solve do not have a solution in the bill as it now stands. There is no reason why the Labor Party could not have gone further, rather than putting something like this on the table that is, in our opinion, underdone. To her credit, Ms Rees has spent some time on my behalf looking at Mr Corbell's legislation to see whether we could amend it to satisfy both of our concerns. However, there has not been time to work out a firm proposal by today. Also, it became very clear that, as I said earlier, one could not be done without the other.

I think that at this late stage in the life of this Assembly it probably would be better, and I imagine that it will be so, for the Labor Party to take it to the electorate and have the next Assembly look at it, I would hope from a position of government. I will just say that, generally speaking, I support the concept of having an independent chief planner. I also support the concept of having an independent planning authority. Hopefully, Mr Corbell and I will be back here after the next election. I look forward to working with him on that.

MR CORBELL (11.26), in reply: Mr Speaker, I would like to begin my remarks this morning by referring to some comments I was very grateful to receive from Dr Brendan Gleeson, who is director of the urban frontiers program at the University of Western Sydney. The urban frontiers program, for those members who are not aware of it, is one of a number of academic bodies charged with developing and studying planning policy and implementation. I asked Dr Gleeson to give me his comments in relation to the bill. This is what Dr Gleeson said:

Planning is about the public interest, and it is vital that this decision making framework is kept as transparent as possible and separated clearly from ordinary commercial or private interests. The land market, amongst other markets (housing, employment, etc.) is prone to systemic failure (hence the need for planning) and corruption of regulators. Land scandals have marked the cards of all major political interests. It is therefore vital that the independence of the public officers entrusted with planning be rigorously maintained. Of course, at the end of the day, the executive has a responsibility to direct those officers that serve the public. But this direction should be:

1. undertaken with careful reference to established and agreed strategic goals and plans, laid out in law, regulations and policy instruments, and not subject to day-to-day whims and fancies (in short the propensity for rushed decision making must be

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