Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3955 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
The government's proposal for a Land Development Agency opens up great opportunities to introduce innovative and more ecologically sustainable forms of housing and greater choice for home buyers, as well as allowing the profits from land development to be retained by government. It seems like a win/win situation to me. As long as this agency does not get caught up in financially dubious projects-which include speculative commercial ventures as well as housing, such as the original Harcourt Hill Country Club proposal-then there is no good reason for it to fail. It will be a challenging task, though, for the agency and the government and I will watch its progress closely.
In conclusion, the Greens will be supporting this bill and the consequential amendments bill as one small step along the way to getting a more accountable and professional planning system in the ACT. Hopefully, with the passing of this bill the potential for political considerations to override good planning will be significantly reduced. However, I am not getting too excited at this stage, as there are still many other actions that need to be taken. As members would know, I have put forward a number of bills over my time in Assembly to improve various aspects of planning approval and appeal systems in the ACT, because I think it is essential for good planning to have strong checks and balances on the discretion currently exercised by the planners. I also think that if we want to create a truly sustainable city there needs to be range of changes to the Territory Plan itself and to the various guidelines employed by the planners to assist development so that environmental considerations are given more prominence.
I look forward to working with the Planning and Land Authority to achieve these changes. I support these bills in principle, but of course we still need to work through various amendments in the detail stage. I will not be supporting Mrs Dunne's amendment, because I know that the regulations are going to be disallowable and I think this is just an attempt to scuttle the whole thing.
MR SPEAKER: The question is that Mrs Dunne's amendment be agreed to. Members are reminded that they can speak to the question that bill be agreed to in principle at the same time.
MS DUNDAS (5.17): Mr Speaker, I will be doing that, because I am happy to be debating this bill at the in-principle stage today. But it is obviously necessary to adjourn debate so we can have the opportunity to sit down and discuss in more depth the amendments that are being put forth, and hopefully provide a full and coherent set of amendments that will improve the functioning of this bill. I have a number of amendments, as do Mrs Dunne and Ms Tucker.
A little more time for consideration will allow members to sit down and work with the minister, and each other, to see if we can come to a better arrangement so that the bill will hang together as a unified whole and we do not have the situation we had when the land act was debated, with amendments being thrown across the floor and the result being a bit of a mess.
The ACT Democrats will be supporting this bill in principle today. We continue to have some concern with the details, and I will touch briefly on these as I go on. The Planning and Land Bill 2002 sets up the legislative framework for both the new Planning and Land Authority and the government land developer. The ACT Democrats went to the last