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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1659 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

Mr Deputy Speaker, we make a number of other recommendations about the appropriate land use at Kippax Group Centre. Our recommendations are all intended to boost the centre and improve the community use of and access to the range of services presently offered.

Finally, the committee has made a recommendation about PALM's handling of the draft variation process. For some time now the committee has been disturbed by the number of occasions when a member of the public, and sometimes even a planning expert, has come before the committee and spoken to a draft variation which they did not know had been changed by PALM. Such a change might occur when PALM, having considered the public submissions it receives on the original draft variation, then amends the variation in light of the public comment. It is upsetting to members to realise that members of our community often do not know of the changes. I must say that Dr Cooper from PALM acknowledged this in evidence she gave to our committee. There is a simple solution, and it forms the basis of our recommendation 15.

To sum up, Mr Deputy Speaker, the committee's inquiry into these two draft variations, 158 and 163, has not been easy or uncontroversial, but we believe that the report will show that we got the many issues right and that the result will be an improvement to the policies and processes applying to group centres all over Canberra.

I would like to take the opportunity on behalf of my committee to thank the many witnesses. I would also like to thank the secretariat, in particular our secretary, Rod Power, and my two colleagues Mr Rugendyke and Mr Corbell. I would now like to commend the report to the house, Mr Deputy Speaker.

MR CORBELL (4.41): Mr Deputy Speaker, this is an important report in at least one respect in that it draws to the Assembly's attention the issue of a proposal to make a significant change to how we undertake land use planning in the ACT. The concept of master planning has evolved over a period of years. Draft variation 158 proposes the extensive use of a master planning process to enable changes to land use policy in Canberra's group centres.

Master planning is a process which does provide the level of micro planning that is often necessary in dealing with the specific issues of group centres. But what the committee had to deal with in addressing this issue was that master planning had the potential to override the Assembly's intention in relation to land use policy in group centres, a change in land use policy from, say, the retail core of a group centre to mixed use or other lesser precincts.

This is a provision which the committee had considerable concern with. For example, the proposed high-rise development at the Jamieson Centre would have been permitted under a master plan and would not have been subject to Assembly oversight or scrutiny in any way, even though such a proposal would be a significant departure from the existing land use at Jamieson. Therefore, the committee has made a series of recommendations-I must say they are unanimous recommendations-in relation to the management of the master planning process.

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