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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2237 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Dual occupancies came into fashion because of society's historical liking for the proverbial quarter acre block and big backyards. Some people who did not share the desire for large backyards thought this vacant space could be better used for more housing. This is a reasonable response where vacant land within particular parts of the city is scarce and the space available on the block is big enough to accommodate a second dwelling. However, dual occupancies do have a potential for upsetting the privacy of adjacent dwellings and for causing overshadowing.

I also do not think that dual occupancy should be regarded as a key part of an urban consolidation strategy. What seems to be happening is that an old house that may have been for a family of four or five is being replaced by two dwellings with maybe a couple of people in each. There is not much increase in population, but usually a doubling of garages and driveways, a reduction in tree and vegetation cover, and a big increase in hard surfaces which leads to more stormwater run-off.

The Greens believe it would be much better to target urban consolidation in specific locations where there is the capacity for such development, and to do this as integrated well-designed developments across a few blocks, rather than encourage these ad hoc infills of backyards across the suburbs. We believe that the whole policy on dual occupancy needs to be reviewed and greater restrictions placed on it.

I will be supporting this motion, but I do have an amendment that acknowledges the difficulties under which the LAPACs operate. I do not think it is fair to impose extra work on LAPACs in reviewing dual occupancy applications without giving them an equivalent increase in the level of resources and support from PALM. Otherwise they could just get flooded with more development applications than they can reasonably handle and end up in a worse position than they are in now. We have to remember that these LAPAC members are volunteers who give up a large proportion of their spare time for this work because they believe it is important. The government needs to repay this commitment with its own commitment to provide LAPACs with sufficient support for them to properly do the job they were appointed to do. I move the following amendment which was circulated in my name:

Add an additional paragraph:

"(3) calls on the ACT Government to increase the resources and support provided to the Local Area Planning Advisory Committees to allow them to effectively manage the increased workload of reviewing dual occupancy applications."

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (8.56): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, what Mr Corbell today describes as widespread community concern about the impact of dual occupancy development in Canberra's established suburbs mirrors the discussions that inevitably occur in all growing and changing cities. Issues associated with the quality of development and the rate of change in residential communities to strike the right balance between the interests of conservation and development are, and perhaps always will be, part of the community discussion in significant urban areas like inner Canberra.

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