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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3784 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

PALM is aware that ACTCode is one part of a package for enhancing planning outcomes across the city. The planning processes and staff and industry capabilities are also vitally important. So, looking toward next year, and the eventual introduction of ACTCode, PALM has commenced a program that includes:

staff training to enhance the skills of PALM's development assessment staff;

increased industry forums and professional development programs;

and integration of PALM's "Designing for High Quality and Sustainability" into PALM's normal development processes.

The number and quality of the submissions received is a clear indication of the community's interest in the future planning of Canberra. I would like to acknowledge the contribution and thank all those who have responded to this opportunity for the consultation.

Mr Speaker, once again this government has demonstrated a strong commitment to high quality outcomes for our city. I have committed to some immediate improvements to our planning practices, and work will continue with the community on refining ACTCode to ensure it provides a set of tools which helps to achieve the required outcomes. I would add that the designing for high quality and sustainability program which became mandatory on 1 July will also ensure that development applications properly and sensitively reflect the values that the community has for our urban areas. We have a clear vision for the city, and the policies and programs which will realise it.

MR CORBELL (3.54): Mr Speaker, the Assembly has been provided with this report and the minister's response as a result of the resolution I moved on behalf of the Labor Party in the Assembly back in March this year. I think the minister's statement reaffirms why it was important to move that resolution in the first place. What we have seen from the minister's response today is that PALM received 58 submissions, mostly detailed, that addressed a range of difficult and controversial elements when it comes to urban design and siting policy.

The fact that the government got that level of response indicates, first of all, that people were concerned about the proposed ACTCode 2 as previously released by the minister, and, secondly, that they had not engaged in the process prior to that point. I think it also said something about the adequacy of PALM's communication and the government's communication about the new ACTCode prior to that resolution. That said, Mr Speaker, it is quite clear that the community has responded as a result of the Assembly's intervention.

Looking at the ACTCode consultation timetable which is outlined in the minister's report that he has just tabled, you can see that there has been a range of meetings with community councils, LAPACs, community organisations, industry organisations, as well as other public activities which have all given the community a chance to have a meaningful say on this document. So the action of the Assembly is certainly warranted when you see the outcome.

The government has indicated through the minister's statement today that it is already taking a number of steps in relation to new subdivision design requirements, and it has also outlined approaches it has taken in relation to staff training within PALM. Both of those are welcomed by the Labor Party.

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