Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3852 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
I accept that the Labor government went to the last election with a clear policy to set up an independent planning authority and to take over the development of raw land. The Greens generally support this policy approach. Considerable work has already been done, including the introduction of legislation, to make this happen. Any further changes to the land act should only occur in the context of these proposals. I therefore think the first priority should be to sort out the bills already before the Assembly and get them implemented.
In fact, it will be through their implementation that the need for further changes to the land act will start to become evident. In general, I believe that all legislation should be subject to a continuous process of review to make sure that it is working effectively. I would be willing to consider the need for a further review of the land act next year after the current legislative changes have been put in place, but not now.
MS DUNDAS (4.55): I will be speaking to both the motion and the amendment. I commend Mrs Dunne for bringing this issue to the floor of the Assembly. I agree in general with what Mrs Dunne is trying to do; the land act does need to be reviewed. The land act is probably our most complicated piece of legislation, and I agree that there are likely to be means of simplifying this act to make it easier to follow and more understandable by the general public. I am aware that the government has already indicated in briefings to my office that the land act is due to reviewed next year, but I agree that this process could be more inclusive and independent.
There is scope for our planning legislation to be streamlined. Improved access to legislation is a central issue here, as this law directly affects what people can do with their own backyards. Currently, the legislation is difficult to read and is hard for residents to understand without specialist legal advice. Our land act needs to be clear and accessible. Canberrans need to know their rights and responsibilities under this legislation, but the current framework does not facilitate this process.
Planning issues have the ability to ignite the passions of residents and cause a great deal of political, social and economic controversy. All these aspects need to be addressed and considered in planning decisions and stakeholders need to be able to have their concerns heard and taken into account-the true meaning of consultation. The planning process needs to have both community participation and ownership. Canberra residents need to understand the provisions of development control and feel the planning system is creating a better environment for our future.
There is a case for removing unnecessary delays and doing our best to get development proposals right the first time round. The responsibility for this lies not only with the government and our planning staff, but also with private developers. Development companies need to realise that they are not only in a profit-making industry, but also impacting on the social and natural environment of Canberra.
Planning and development are not simply another business opportunity; they are about shaping our homes and our lives. The urban form of our city influences its cultural and social life and it helps create a sense of belonging. The future shape of our city will impact on how we live our lives, including our employment, transport and recreation choices, and these decisions should not be left just to profit-driven development, whether