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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3329 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

This draft variation seeks to contain urban development by means of a 200-metre circle around shopping centres. The interim application of this plan, which took effect from 1 September, effectively sinks sustainability as a development option. This proposal means the only option for development is continuing urban sprawl. I am dismayed that the Greens and the Democrats have so far chosen to go along with the government, down this road, given their previous support for the idea of sustainability.

Let me make it quite clear: I am not quibbling about the intent of the draft variation, that is, the aim of protecting the older areas of the city from unrestrained development. However, I do think more careful consideration should be given to a proposal of this magnitude. As I have said in this place many times, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Draft variation 200 is not the way to provide protection for those heritage places.

We have seen that up to 40 per cent of suburbs such as Downer, Red Hill, Stirling and Kaleen will be subject to redevelopment pressures that do not take account of the input of the residents of those suburbs. Draft variation 200 allows, among other things, the development of dual and triple occupancies, and up to four storeys in areas around shopping centres. The general intention was that this should happen in a neat circle around the shops, but sometimes there are unintended consequences.

One unintended consequence, Mr Speaker, means that there will be an octopus in many suburbs, an octopus that cuts a great swathe of redevelopment across suburbs, especially those that have their own shops while being close to group centres. We have not yet determined whether the proposals are suitable on a suburb-by-suburb basis, but the Minister for Planning, in his haste to be seen as a great planning reformer, is just pushing through with what is simply an ill thought out proposal. It is bad planning and it is bad policy.

The minister's proposals set out in draft variation 200 are elitist, counter to the notions of sustainability, and take a one-size-fits-all approach to planning. The planning needs of Turner and Spence, Banks and Red Hill are very different, and we should be approaching them on a case-by-case basis, not using arbitrary formulas, of which this minister is very fond.

In one breath, this minister extols the study done by the OECD into Canberra planning, and then immediately ignores the advice that came from the very same people when they advised us to achieve sustainability by helping "each urban place to achieve its potential, not according to an abstract model, but rather according to analysis of its specific strengths and weaknesses".

It may come as no surprise to the minister when I say that many members of the community have commented unfavourably about the approach taken by draft variation 200. I know that those comments have been communicated to him often, and loudly. One planner who recently wrote to me commented:

Wouldn't it be better to judge redevelopment proposals on their own merits of aspect, size, scale, view, access, topography, services available and any positive/negative impacts on surrounding residents? Instead of just basically approving everything because it fits within [a particular] zone?

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