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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3259 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

I have had briefings from the department about that. The advice that I received from the department was that this approach was unnecessary and could be achieved by perhaps a tightening of the guidelines and a publication of those guidelines. I think that the legislative approach is unnecessary and cumbersome and creates too much of an impost upon people. For those reasons, the opposition will be opposing the legislation.

MS DUNDAS (5.46): Mr Speaker, I will be supporting Ms Tucker's bill. I also have been contacted about these so-called minor amendments which often seem to involve an entire redesign of a dwelling. I have been informed of minor amendments that have entirely altered roof lines and significantly altered the location of external walls, with resultant detrimental impacts on nearby residents who have been left without any avenue of review.

I believe that the bill introduced by Ms Tucker goes some way towards strengthening the requirements for the approval of minor amendments and the requirements for notifying affected parties. The central issue here is that our planning processes are clear and accountable and that residents are properly informed of the changes in their urban environment. If this legislation is passed, we will be able to feel a little more confident that so-called minor amendments are precisely that.

MR CORNWELL (5.47): I rise to support my colleague Mrs Dunne on this matter. I sit here on Wednesdays listening to members of this Assembly impose more and more controls and more and more limitations on the people of this territory and I do wonder at times whether some of the members here have a different interpretation as to what we, the elected representatives of this city, are really here to do. I see some absurdities.

Perhaps, Mr Speaker, the best absurdity is before me in the amendment that Mr Corbell has rightly referred to as being of some concern, that is, the so-called minor amendment to section 247 (2) (c) by which we would be substituting a section which states "will not cause an increase in detriment to any person or the environment". Let me read that again: "will not cause an increase in detriment to any person or the environment".

Who on earth wrote that? I thought the Stalinists were long gone. I thought that the totalitarians were long gone and the authoritarians were long gone. Will not cause an increase in detriment to any person! Good heavens, how can you possibly put in an amendment of that nature? As Mr Corbell has mentioned, it would be very difficult not to find that an increase in detriment to any person or the environment would occur. If the building of a new single residence on the block of a previously single residence required the removal of a branch of a tree no thicker than my finger, that could be regarded as being to the detriment of the environment, could it not? I am sorry, that is what the minor amendment states.

I appreciate the situation, because I have had numerous representations over the years from people who were unhappy about aspects of redevelopment in their neighbourhood, next door to them, et cetera. I would suggest to you, however, that enforcement of the existing design and siting rules would be a better way of controlling the situation, rather than the jackboot approach that I am seeing in this amendment.

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