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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1189 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, it is with pleasure that I present the third report of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment on draft variation 119. It refers to the placement on the Heritages Places Register of scarred trees at Majura, which will become item 66 on the register, and a quarry site at Symonston, which will become item 67.

The committee would have liked to complete this report some time ago and were keen to do so, but in the course of the inquiry some concerns were highlighted to the committee. We are concerned about the length of time it takes draft variations to reach the committee.

The community has an expectation that matters will be dealt with quickly and expeditiously. We increasingly find that delays in Planning and Land Management tend to truncate the time the committee has to deal with these matters and limit the time we have to advise the Assembly appropriately.

When we were looking at this draft variation relating to heritage places, we noted that the process of forming draft variations, which is in itself complex, has an added layer of complexity when we are dealing with heritage sites. This has added to the time it has taken to get the variation out of the heritage unit, out of PALM and to the committee.

In this case we have highlighted problems with the consultation that takes place beforehand. The committee has specifically made recommendations for the reference of both the heritage unit in particular and PALM in the general application of draft variations.

We found that key stakeholders had not been consulted, although there had been two consultation processes before the matter reached the committee. Both indigenous groups and business groups who had an interest in the block at Majura had not been consulted before the matter reached the committee. The committee therefore had to undertake its own consultation, and that delayed the reporting.

We found, as we have found previously, that public consultation conducted by PALM over draft variations can be a little limited. You will find at the back of every draft variation you receive a list of people to whom PALM has written. It really boils down to a list of the usual suspects. We have seen in the past that the people doing draft variations sometimes do not exercise their judgment to consult people who might be interested in the draft variation.

The problems that have arisen over the Callam Street variation are a case in point. People should have been consulted but no-one thought to consult them.

On the basis of our experience with draft variation 119, we have made specific recommendations to widen the consultation process before a draft variation reaches the committee.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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