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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2657 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

This is a simple motion that simplifies a somewhat complex motion and asks the Assembly, in line with the recommendations of the Estimates Committee, to refer the Planning and Land Bill to the Planning and Environment Committee for it to inquire into and report on its operations.

It is an appropriate piece of legislation to be brought before a committee for scrutiny because it is so broad ranging, has such significant implications and is of interest to such a wide section of the community. The minister has said that there have been briefings and consultation on this, but I do not think there has been an opportunity for the community, in the full, broad sense, to have its say on this. There has been the provision of briefings. But briefings do not amount to consultation; they are the imparting of information.

As the minister said, the bill is an explicit election commitment from the Labor Party but, because of the broad nature of its implications for the community, it also needs to be explicitly scrutinised. There are major issues that need to be addressed. As a community, we need to look at the new planning structure and what impact it will have on the economy, the amenity, the environment, the social wellbeing of our community and the shape of Canberra.

As a result of this, I think it is most appropriate that the committee take time to investigate the legislation. It is important, however, that the committee has access to the full implications of what is meant by it. As I have said in other places, the devil is in the detail here. So far, we have the outline of the structure, but we do not yet have any of the consequential amendments and therefore do not have a full understanding of how this new structure will impact on the land act and other pieces of legislation across the ACT. It will change in many ways the way we do planning in the ACT, for better or for worse. We need to look at that carefully.

The minister said he would like a reporting date, and I am relaxed with that. He circulated a suggested reporting date and, in consultation with Ms Dundas, I have circulated an amendment to Mr Corbell's amendment to make the reporting date 12 November rather than 5 November. If it were reported on 5 November, it could be seen as a cunning plot to blow Mr Corbell's plans out of the water.

Ms Tucker: I did not hear the argument for the change of date. I cannot hear you.

MRS DUNNE: The principal reasons for the change of date are the tightness of the time frame; the fact that the consequential amendments won't be available until the end of September; and the fact that some members of the committee will be away for short or lengthy periods over that time, meaning that the committee would not be able to meet as a whole on 5 November to report.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.45): I want to respond to Mrs Dunne's amendment and some of the issues she raises. I do not agree with her entirely that this is simply another way of implementing what was previously in Mr Smyth's original motion, because the Planning and Land Bill is to establish the government's mechanisms for the operation of a statutory, independent planning and land authority and a land development agency.

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