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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2622 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

effect to policy. That is what this Assembly did when the call-in power was reviewed in 1999. Every call-in must now be notified in the Gazette and notified to the Assembly. The matter is then open to debate as a matter of policy.

This bill is not just a case of overkill. It is not just a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut. It is inappropriate, it is excessive and it is misguided. It is the wrong peanut, it is the wrong hammer, for very wrong reasons. Mr Speaker this bill should not under any circumstances be supported.

MR CORBELL (6.02): Mr Speaker, the Labor Party has been very clear and forthright in its criticism of the use by the minister for planning of the call-in power. Indeed, the Labor Party and the Liberal Party are at distinct odds when it comes to how we believe this power should be exercised, and I want to elaborate on that this evening.

The minister has made clear that he believes the use of the call-in power is a normal part of the development approval process. In fact, he used those words recently at an industry forum. He believes it is a standard part of the package of tools available to the government in assessing development applications. Mr Speaker, the Labor Party disagrees. The Labor Party does not believe that the call-in power is a normal part of the development approval process. Indeed, it is our view that it is a power to be used only in exceptional circumstances.

The minister has quoted a range of figures, including one that indicates that there have been a total of around 20 uses of this power. It is interesting to note, of course, that over a quarter to close to a half of the exercise of the power has occurred in the past 12 to 18 months. It has been this minister who has abused the use of the power and has taken it from a power to be used in extraordinary circumstances to a power that is used almost as an every day part of getting a development approval achieved.

Mr Speaker, the Labor Party does not accept that there is a need to make the call-in power disallowable. Indeed, the Labor Party's view is that the problem with the call-in power is not the power itself-it is the abuse of the power by this minister. Our response is not to rectify any problem with the power, as we do not believe there is one, but instead to say Brendan Smyth should no longer be the minister for land and planning. That is where the problem lies, Mr Speaker.

Ms Tucker's proposal makes the call-in power disallowable. In doing so, of course, it defeats the very purpose of the power and the reason why it was placed in the land act in the first place. Originally the call-in power was introduced to short-circuit the development approval process and immediately determine an application, either approving it or rejecting it. If this power were made disallowable, the whole purpose of the power would be removed. A minister could exercise the power but effectively, because of it being placed on the table, it could be up to three months before a decision was ratified by the Assembly.

There is another problem with Ms Tucker's approach, which she perhaps has not thought about. What if the minister exercises the power to reject an application and the applicant who has had their application rejected came to a member of the Assembly to get the minister's decision overturned? Has Ms Tucker contemplated the prospect of an unhappy development proponent getting a member of the Assembly to move a motion to have the

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