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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 4024 ..

Approval Assurance Unit

(Question No 276)

Mr Cornwell asked the Minister for Planning, upon notice:

In relation to the Approval Assurance Unit:

(1) What is the role of the Approval Assurance Unit within Planning and Land Management?

(2) How many staff are in the Unit?

(3) Is the unit being closed down or amalgamated and if so and why and when?

Mr Corbell: The answer to the member's questions is as follows:

1) The Approval Assurance Unit (AAA) was established by Planning and Land Management (PALM) in December 2001 as an internally funded initiative. The AAA was established to provide an initial focus for stronger policing of building and development approval conditions than had existed in previous years.

The role of the AAA is to inspect development sites and enforce development approval conditions during the construction phase. Activity has largely, but not exclusively, concentrated on regularly inspecting residential redevelopment projects in the Canberra North and Canberra South Districts. Education and enforcement action has been taken as required on a case by case basis. The initial phase has been successful in establishing an increased level of awareness and responsiveness from the building industry.

An emphasis on actively monitoring development activities, rather than merely relying upon complaints, is allowing the early identification of emerging issues and speedier resolution of any breaches. It has also contributed to a more uniform level of compliance with and enforcement of, development approval conditions across Canberra.

2) Currently one full time officer.

3) It is intended that the special initiative will be continued with one officer for the remainder of the current financial year. The AAA commenced operations with two officers but, the early peak of activity in terms of researching and following up previous approvals has been completed.

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