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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2234 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Why is this so? Why is it that the government believes that dual occupancy development, of all the types of development that are publicly notified and are available for public comment, that can be appealed against and can be arbitrated through the disputes mechanism under the land act, is not considered worthy of referral to local area planning advisory committees? Perhaps the government took the view that there were too many of them and it would be too considerable a task. Perhaps the government took the view that individual dual occupancy development would not have a significant impact on the character or amenity of a suburb and therefore it was unnecessary to have LAPACs comment on them.

I would argue, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, that on both points the government is wrong. Certainly, dual occupancy development can have a considerable impact on the character and amenity of our local suburbs, perhaps not on a one-off basis but on an incremental, almost creeping, basis, particularly if the quality, character and design outcome of those dual occupancies is of a poor or low standard.

The government is also wrong to suggest that it would be too onerous a task. In fact, it is probably fair to say that LAPACs already have more work than they can handle. I note that this is more a function of the government's refusal to properly resource LAPACs to undertake their terms of reference than it is of the capacity of people on the LAPACs to do that job well.

For that reason I think it is time that we encouraged debate about the quality of dual occupancy development in our city. Labor thinks it is time that LAPACs, as representatives of communities affected by redevelopment activity, have the opportunity to comment on dual occupancy development and start giving PALM and the minister some feedback on exactly what their concerns are about the nature of dual occupancy development in our city.

I would like to draw members' attention to a resolution and a subsequent letter of the Manuka LAPAC. The Manuka LAPAC wrote to the minister for planning on 7 May this year calling on him to establish a moratorium on in-fill development in the inner south of Canberra pending a full independent inquiry into the planning process. They outline the fact that there were particular types of development activity occurring in their area which they had considerable misgivings about. Of note, they urged the minister to recognise that their residential areas were, in their view, being radically changed by a virtual free-for-all in dual occupancy development. They are their words. They went on to write quite a considerable letter of about five pages.

The Labor Party does not agree that a moratorium is the way to go, but we do agree that we need to have a debate about the quality and the nature of redevelopment activity that is occurring in our city, particularly the impact of dual occupancy development. I think we need to look again at exactly what dual occupancies achieve. Do they provide a wider range of housing choice, or do they restrict the options for a suburb as it revitalises over time to have a good range of housing choice within it?

Dual occupancy in the city started out as a way of allowing people with extended families, people who wanted to move to smaller dwellings but to stay on their own block, to do so. But dual occupancy has become more than that. Dual occupancy has become in

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