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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1486 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

The draft variation process will enable a revised policy position to be put to the community. The draft variation will also address the recommendations of the review and incorporate increased setbacks for the precinct. However, members should also be aware that draft variation to the Territory Plan No 114 has effect from 24 August 2000. Planning and Land Management has since had a number of inquiries from residents about development proposals, which has resulted in two development applications being lodged for dual occupancies. The Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 specifies that lessees may apply to vary their lease, and PALM is required to assess these applications in accordance with the legislation and guidelines applicable at the time.

One of these applications has been determined after a thorough assessment and a decision was made to refuse the application on a number of grounds, including that the proposal did not protect the streetscapes, and that the scale and character of the development are not compatible with the surrounding area.

The other application to construct a second dwelling on a block in Red Hill is currently being assessed by PALM. This application followed patient inquiries by the applicant over several years. The application meets PALM's guidelines and requirements applicable at the time of lodgment, on 12 January 2001, including draft variation 114 and, importantly, the criteria being used to assess high-quality design outcomes. Further, there is no legislative basis on which to refuse the application outright. As such, PALM is obliged to assess the application in the same way as any other received.

I believe that any fair-minded member of the Assembly and the community would see justice in these applications being considered on their merits and, in particular, allow the applicant to be afforded the same right under law that other applicants have.

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to respond to the minister's statement.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: I thank members for that indulgence and I will be brief. As the person in this place who has on two occasions moved motions seeking to achieve this outcome, I am very pleased to see the minister finally accept the will of the Assembly and implement this proposal to permit no more than one dwelling on any block in the Old Red Hill heritage area. For that I commend the minister for his preparedness to accept, if belatedly, the recommendation of the Assembly in that regard.

I note the minister's comments in relation to the provisions of the variation as it currently takes effect in Old Red Hill. The Labor Party is of the view, obviously, that any application made for development must be considered in a way which is consistent with the law and any planning regulations and guidelines in the Territory Plan that exist at the time the application is lodged. It is regrettable that there may be circumstances between now and the implementation of a draft variation to the Territory Plan, as outlined by the minister, that further applications for dual occupancy may be lodged. However, those applications are entitled to be lodged and assessed in accordance with the law as it stands at the time they are lodged.

Mr Moore: No, there will be no further ones, just the one that has been lodged.

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