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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2620 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

accommodation. This sort of thinking does not improve an understanding of these circumstances at all.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2000 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 6 December 2000, on motion by Mr Rugendyke:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hird ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Land (Planning and Environment) Amendment Bill 2001 (No 5)

Debate resumed from 20 June 2001, on motion by Ms Tucker:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.55): Mr Speaker, the government will be opposing this bill. Not only is it a retrograde step in development management, it seriously threatens the discretionary powers of all present and future ministers of all portfolios.

In essence, this bill makes the call in of a development application a disallowable instrument. The call in would not take effect until after six sitting days following its tabling in the Assembly. That would mean that this year a development proposal that was ready for a decision in, say, April, would not be decided upon until mid-June. Even worse, an application due for a decision in August would not be decided until the autumn 2002 sittings. Delays like that would, in many cases, take applications well beyond their prescribed period for making a decision.

This Assembly decided in 1996 to impose a discipline on PALM, in that proposals were not to linger indefinitely in the system; they were to be dealt with in a timely fashion. Accordingly, the Assembly imposed a statutory target of 30 working days for decisions with no objections, and 45 working days where there were objections. Those time frames will become almost impossible for PALM to meet if this bill succeeds, but I see no proposal to account for that in Ms Tucker's proposed changes. There is no extension of the prescribed period for a decision or even a stop clock. In some cases there is a clear danger that proposals will go beyond the maximum six-month period for making a decision, so that by the time the Assembly has dealt with a call-in instrument it will no longer be possible to make any decision at all.

Let us not pretend that this Assembly will be able to quickly consider whether a call-in decision meets the requirements of the land act and then move on. These matters will be tied up in long debates about the extent of the power, and whether each of the requirements has been fully met. There will be referrals to the urban services committee and so on.

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