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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3968 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

This method does not encourage transparency of the system. I note that some community groups were suspicious of this process when they put submissions to the committee during its inquiry into this bill.

A further problem is that the process of reconsideration is weighted in favour of developers. Only developers can apply for a reconsideration under this legislation. If we are to have a fair and balanced planning system, then objectors should also be able to seek a reconsideration. Under this system, any objector who disagrees with a planning approval is provided with no avenue of resolution other than to instigate legal proceedings. Allowing some means for this to be resolved by the authority at an earlier point may help speed up planning decisions and provide a less legalistic means of settling disputes.

I will speak further on some of these issues when we get to the detail stage. Hopefully, we will be able to discuss them outside this chamber as we move through the amendments, as I believe that further improvements could be made to these consequential amendments to help improve our planning system.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (6.10), in reply: When I presented the Planning and Land Bill 2002 on 27 June this year, I foreshadowed further legislation to give effect to the government structures provided for by that bill. I then presented the Planning and Land (Consequential Amendments) Bill on 26 September this year. The bill was notified on the legislation register on the same day.

This bill effects a range of changes, as members have pointed out. I would like to summarise some of them. Responsibility for performance of planning and land management functions is transferred to the Planning and Land Authority, the Planning and Land Council and the Land Development Agency. The bill also reinforces the independence of the authority and improves the clarity of our planning system.

Members will have now had an opportunity to examine this package of legislation in full. It almost goes without saying that legislation providing for the constitution of three new organisations must be supported by a suite of amendments to other acts and regulations that allow those organisations to operate properly. This is what this bill does. It does not make policy changes in addition to those already presented in the Planning and Land Bill and foreshadowed by me on 27 June this year.

To outline the effect of the bill, I direct the attention of members to several distinct areas of change. The changes have been outlined to members before, but I think it would assist us all to briefly review the general content of the amendments. I should note firstly that the power of the Assembly, the executive and the minister in setting policy directions is to be maintained. In that context the Planning and Land Authority will have responsibility for management of many of the functions governed by the land act.

Broadly stated, the authority has the following functions: administration of the Territory Plan; granting and administration of crown leases on behalf of the ACT executive; building regulation; management of certain unleased territory land, including the granting of licences in some circumstances; and processing and determination of development proposals.

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