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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3628 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

planning in the ACT that has been foreshadowed for the next year. Doing so in a piecemeal fashion may not result in the best outcomes for planning in the territory.

I would like to talk about community participation in terms of the new framework that has been introduced. As is said in the report:

A general comment from all sectors has been that the Planning and Land Council does not allow for community, environment, welfare or industry representatives to be involved in the deliberations of the council. While the role of the council is to be an expert body, other organisations rightly point out that their delegates are experts in their respective fields and that these areas of expertise are of direct relevance to planning.

The report continues:

While there is some merit in having an organisation whose members are not encumbered by allegiances to outside groups, the fact remains that while the bill makes special effort to ensure that professional and independent advice is facilitated, no such regard is given to members of the community. It is easy to understand the view expressed by some members of the community that the bill only replaces one large bureaucracy with another.

The committee views planning as a process that not only needs to be academically and professionally informed it also needs widespread community respect and ownership. The bill sets out to deal with one side of the equation but does little to address the other. The committee recommends that a review of the place of community participation in this proposed planning structure be undertaken.

I do hope that the government will take it on and that we will truly consider how the community-the community that will live in this planned city, the community that will have a direct day-to-day involvement with how this city is built-will be actually welcomed into the new structure and the new framework. That may mean that we will have to delay debating the legislation so that we can truly consider and come up with the best outcome for the community as well as with the professional, academic and expert factors that need to be involved in planning in the ACT.

I would also like to make a comment on the land agency section of the framework. The structuring of the agency with a sole commercial focus may be healthy for revenue purposes, but it detracts from the social benefits of having a public developer. While there is provision for the government to direct the agency towards social goals, this is accompanied by a requirement for the territory to compensate the agency for reduced income.

As the specifics of the timing and source of this possible expenditure remain unclear, this provision makes it more difficult for social and environmental considerations to be incorporated into public land development. In any case, while the government may direct the agency to incorporate social goals in its development projects, there is no provision for appointed board members to have the requisite knowledge of social and environmental planning for these aids to be effectively implemented. If we are to have the whole land agency role managed by the government, we must imbue it with the principles not just of economic benefit but of social benefit and environmental benefit.

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