Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3847 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

provisions have changed back and forth and determination of which development is to be notified has become a complex and exceedingly opaque process.

There is a whole new lexicon of drafting terminology that now makes it impossible, or so I am told, to draft new measures into the existing act. We had a long discussion with members of the task force that was developing the Planning and Land Bill and the simple answer to questions as to why the changes were not being made as an amendment to the land act rather than a stand-alone bill was that it would be too complex to do that because of the flaws in the land act.

There are also many instances of rules having been made that reflect out-of-date attitudes towards public offices. An example of this is something that has been in public recently: it is not possible for PALM to investigate compliance issues and make an order requiring a person to abide by the terms of a lease or an approval. PALM must either receive a complaint or request that two ministers sign an order before they can do anything.

In the election campaign last year, Labor announced a comprehensively different approach to planning and land management, that is, essentially a return to the corporate town of the past. While we have many problems with this approach, which will be addressed at some length tomorrow, I would hope, there is a more important and underlying issue that needs to be addressed, and it is a fundamental issue. It is that any legislative change they bring will be superimposed on an entirely deficient and inadequate piece of legislation, that is, the land act of 1991.

It is the view of the Liberal Party that a reference to the Law Reform Commission, suitably funded and resourced, is the most appropriate means of review. While such an approach would review the legislation as it stands, it would also be able to revisit earlier criticisms and suggest amendments or replacements as a more appropriate vehicle on which to base planning and management decisions in 2002. In particular, the entire process of the draft variation to the Territory Plan needs to be reconsidered in the broad context of a clear and unequivocal legislative framework.

I am proposing in this motion a means of achieving a more clearly delineated and transparent process that enunciates and defines the appropriate role of the minister, the Assembly and the standing committee. I am concerned, and many in the planning and building industry are similarly concerned, that Labor's plans for a new complexity will merely exacerbate existing weaknesses. The need is for a totally revised act before major changes occur. This is essential to ensure that the government's proposed Planning and Land Bill will actually work.

A totally revised act would underwrite stability and certainty in a way that Labor's proposals would not in seeking to avoid situations where large amounts of time and money are invested and wasted in needless protracted draft variation processes which, in turn, drive up the cost of housing. Let me stress that this is not just my view, nor simply the view of the Liberal Party. Without exception, every key player in the industry and in the community that I have discussed this matter with is of the opinion that the act is a mess. My office has held wide-ranging discussions with industry groups, builders, lobbyists, members of the legal community, members of the planning community, and community groups. Their opinion has been unanimous.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .