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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2655 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mrs Dunne has circulated an amendment that proposes to delete the reference to land development investigation, as proposed by Mr Smyth, and replace it with an inquiry into the Planning and Land Bill. This raises the question of whether the amendment is consistent with the broad terms of the original proposal or whether it is an entirely different question. I do not say that to cause trouble; I say it because it is substantially different in its nature.

Perhaps I can leave that with you, Mr Speaker. I am somewhat concerned, as a matter of process, about whether this amendment is consistent with the standing orders, as the amendment is quite different to the substantive proposal that is already before the chair.

MR SPEAKER: Is this the Dunne amendment that has been circulated?

MR CORBELL: Yes, Mr Speaker. I raise that just as a point for your information, if it is an issue. If it is an issue, the government are prepared to give leave to allow the amendment to be moved. Nevertheless, the issue that Mrs Dunne is now proposing in her amendment is that the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment inquiry report on the operation of the Planning and Land Bill. That bill was presented to the Assembly a number of months ago, before the budget was presented, as I recall.

This is a major piece of legislation and, equally, it is an explicit implementation of an explicit election commitment of the government to establish an independent planning authority and provide the mechanisms for implementing government land development activity, both of which are key and explicit matters in the government's planning policy.

I have spoken with both Mrs Dunne and the members of the crossbench, Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas. I have indicated to them that, whilst I have some reservations about this inquiry and its potential to unnecessarily delay the implementation of this very important reform-assuming that the Assembly will pass the bill at some stage-I am prepared to accept that in their view there is need for additional time for people in the broader community to participate, through an Assembly inquiry.

In my discussions with Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas, they indicated that they believe that an Assembly inquiry is the appropriate mechanism to allow people to have a further say on the legislation, and this is a significant change. I should add that the government has already been very open in its provision of information and advice on this legislation.

Consecutive rounds of briefings have been offered to those members, in terms of both the development of the legislation and the final bill that has been presented to the Assembly, and also to industry and community resident organisations. Those briefings have been accepted from an industry and community perspective, and I know that they have proven to be helpful in getting a better understanding of the key stakeholders in this proposed change.

To that end, the government is prepared to support the amendment that Mrs Dunne has circulated, but with the proviso that there is a reasonable reporting date. I have proposed in my amendment to Mrs Dunne's amendment, which has been circulated for members' information, that the committee report by 5 November this year.

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