Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1889 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
Although the variation contains extensive provision for residential use within group centres, it restricts it to ground-floor level in the retail core and mixed services precincts to ensure these precincts maintain their planned function. Allowing unrestricted residential development at ground-floor level in these precincts has the potential to jeopardise the very uses these precincts were planned to promote. These precincts are where most of the activity occurs in group centres and are also not generally suitable for residential use.
To increase the supply of suitable housing for older people and those with disabilities, the policies require that ground floor housing in the business precinct, which is precinct "b", be built to adaptable housing standards. There are no restrictions for housing above ground-floor level in this precinct.
With regard to the Calwell group centre, the government recognises that residential use in section 72 is not likely to undermine the centre's role in serving its catchment. However, I have serious reservations about making a last minute change to the variation just to serve the interests of a particular development proponent. This move in the draft variation process has not been discussed with the local community, and I believe it is inappropriate for this Assembly to make last minute proposals simply because there has been some last minute lobbying by the lessee and his agent.
The original proposal to change the policy on these blocks was made available for public comment, and no submissions were received on the issue. Furthermore, the issue was not raised in the context of the Planning and Urban Services Committee hearings on the draft variation. The issue has only come to the surface as the result of some one-minute-to-midnight lobbying by the lessee and his agent.
Mr Speaker, in principle the government does not oppose blocks 2, 5 and 6 of section 72 reverting to precinct "b". However, it does not believe that this should be achieved through a disallowance process. We need to go out and talk with that community about that proposal. That is the whole point of variations to the Territory Plan. You do not slip in these changes at the last minute, which is what Mrs Dunne is proposing. The government believes that, in the interests of openness and transparency, change should be achieved through the appropriate processes-that is, a further variation to the Territory Plan that the Calwell community can have their fair say on.
Variation No 158 aims to return group centres to their proper place in Canberra's retail hierarchy by providing a coherent policy framework for assessing future development proposals. The amendments proposed by Mrs Dunne are contrary to the recommendations of the Assembly committee, and they undermine the transparency and openness of process associated with varying the Territory Plan. For these reasons, Mr Speaker, the government will not be supporting the disallowance.
MS TUCKER(6.20): The Greens will not be supporting this disallowance, as I am concerned about this attempt to tinker with a plan variation at the last minute. The process of varying the Territory Plan is long and detailed-some would say too long. But if it is done well it should result in a comprehensive assessment of the planning of particular areas or a broad planning principle and the opportunity for the community to have their say in the final decision. This plan variation is a particularly complex one as it deals with the planning of all group centres in Canberra. I note that the original draft