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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3260 ..

MR CORNWELL (continuing):

I am aware, as is Mr Corbell and as are most members who have been here for some time, of gross breaches of design and siting arrangements because the design and siting rules were not enforced. I would suggest that that is the responsibility of PALM, the people who are there to make sure that design and siting rules are carried out. It is not the responsibility of this Assembly to impose more and more conditions simply because the people who should be enforcing these rules, PALM officers, are not doing so. I would suggest, Minister, that you seek to ensure that they do carry them out.

I have a question on the notice paper, as of yesterday, which concerns an accreditation section which I have heard either is being disbanded or is going to be broken up. If that is correct, and I hope that it is not, that is certainly not a step in the right direction, because we do need the design and siting rules to be enforced, but we certainly do not need this sort of draconian nonsense not only being put forward in this place, but also being passed, because it seems to me that we are losing sight, or at least some of us are losing sight, as to our role in this Assembly in relation to the ACT, that is, that we are all here for the good governance of this territory, not to impose further and further restrictions on the 320,000 residents who live here.

MS TUCKER (5.52), in reply: I will conclude the debate. I am not sure whether Mr Cornwell quite understands what this bill is actually about. If Mr Cornwell is so concerned about PALM not doing its job, he would support this bill. If Mr Cornwell thinks that PALM is not doing its job, which is a quite significant allegation, he would be aware that what we are doing here is bringing a bit more transparency into how PALM deals with development applications and taking a bit of discretion from PALM in that the bill allows someone who has already expressed an interest in a development because it will impact upon them to have an opportunity to make comment if the so-called minor amendment is approved.

The question of what is minor and what is not minor is, of course, subjective. All this bill is doing is trying to tighten up the rights of neighbours to have a say if a development application that has been approved is going to be changed. Mr Cornwell used colourful language, describing that as Stalinist, et cetera. The point is that this provision would actually protect people in the community. It would allow for transparency in the operations of PALM in terms of development applications.

As Ms Dundas said, lots of people have been communicating to members of this place for some time their concerns about this sort of issue, which was a fairly significant issue in the election campaign that the Liberals lost. I am glad to see Mr Corbell supporting this bill, although I am very disappointed that he is not prepared to support our removal of the word "significant" from paragraph (c), which talks about not causing a significant increase in detriment. I stress again, particularly for Mr Cornwell, that it is about not causing an increase in detriment, not any detriment.

The whole question of what is a minor amendment is what is the problem; that is what is subjective. We were purposely trying to tighten up paragraph (c) because it is quite important to our bill. Whilst Mr Corbell actually says that he still supports this bill in principle, I think that he has undermined it significantly by not being prepared to support the amendment to 247 (2) (c).

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