Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3627 ..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
signifies acceptance of the proposal, it did surprise me. Whilst I would not detract from the comments made by industry groups, whose concerns were serious and legitimate and have been articulated in the report, the community, with the exception of PACCT, was relatively silent during this inquiry.
I have some further comments which will be of no surprise to my committee colleagues, but I do have to say here that I did not share their concerns in regard to the statement of planning intent. I do not believe that the intention of the statement of planning intent is to corrupt or override other processes or laws, but that it will be used to actually inform the Assembly and the public about the intention of the government and minister of the day in relation to broad planning policy. However, a number of concerns were raised about the use and frequency of the statement of planning intent and clarification is needed by the minister. There is no doubt that several initiatives in the Planning and Land Bill will improve accountability, independence and transparency within the planning process.
It is also important to say that the response from witnesses was generally supportive of the objective of making planning more independent of government. In fact, I would say that the evidence received by the committee was generally supportive of the planning framework being proposed by this bill. A witness representing APESMA actually said that he found the legislation refreshing.
The concerns and issues raised were more about things that may occur once the framework is in place. This was not something on which the committee could form a view, other than to articulate to the minister, through this report, what it heard from witnesses. Overall, there was overwhelming support for a change to the current system. All witnesses agreed that the current process is complex, cumbersome, lengthy and uncertain and everyone agreed that this needed to be changed.
I am glad that the committee managed to act as a conduit for community and industry feedback to the executive. We have produced a report which concentrated on the issues raised with us as a committee. The committee does make several recommendations and, for the most part, these are sensible and, hopefully, useful. After some debate on Tuesday, the Assembly approved a two-day extension for the tabling of this report and I would like again to thank my committee colleagues, who met three times in the past two days to meet this deadline.
I would also like to record my appreciation of the work of Derek Abbott, the committee's secretary, along with that of Judy Moutia and Siobhan Leyne from the committee office. I thank them very much for all their hard work.
MS DUNDAS (11.59): I rise to add my thanks to the members of the committee, the community and the secretariat for the work that has gone into producing this report. The legislation that was referred to us proposes a very large change to the planning sector in the ACT. We did not have the time to undertake a long and detailed consideration of it, as we would have liked, but we looked at many different aspects of the framework that has been introduced by the government and the community, the secretariat and the committee were quite willing to work as hard as we possibly could to try to grasp this large change in such a short timeframe. As has been stressed, it would be preferable to have this legislation considered in more detail, perhaps as part of a broader review of