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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4159 ..

MS TUCKER (8.21): The Greens will not be supporting this amendment either. I have not been given any valid reasons for it to be removed from the authority's functions. As Minister Corbell just explained, the digital cadastral database seems to me entirely relevant to the functions of the authority.

MS DUNDAS (8.21): The Australian Democrats also will not be supporting Mrs Dunne's amendments here. I understand where they come from after having seen submissions to the committee inquiry into this bill, in which some organisations indicated that they thought the government should retain some form of planning department separate from the Planning and Land Authority.

I am definitely not opposed in principle to the minister retaining some form of professional advice outside the authority. It will help maintain the independence of the authority and will also give the minister greater access to alternative sources of advice. It may also solve the problem that we have seen occurring in other statutory bodies, where an authority is sometimes put in a difficult situation when it both tries to advise the minister and maintain an independent stance.

However, I don't believe that to do this we need to take away these particular functions from the authority. I believe that there is nothing in this bill preventing the government from establishing a separate planning section as part of its administrative arrangements. Part of the usefulness of the new authority is its ability to integrate a number of functions that may presently be handled by different agencies, and community and business have generally welcomed this improvement. Taking out these functions of the agency would once again split up a number of different areas, and has the potential to create unnecessary red tape in the planning process.

Amendment negatived.

MRS DUNNE (8.23): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 7 at page 4199].

I will be brief because I know I am going to go down. This is the same argument. The digital cadastral database and the land information services are not issues that relate directly to planning and are subsidiary to it. They are not, as far as the Canberra Liberals are concerned, functions that are necessarily part of a planning authority. They would be better placed in another part of the government.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (8.24): Mr Speaker, the government will not be supporting this amendment, for the same reasons that I outlined in relation to the previous amendment. I think it is worth pointing out to members that this is a planning and land authority. It is not a planning authority alone, it is a planning and land authority. One of its key functions is land management, the management of the land asset on behalf of the Canberra community.

Clearly, when the authority has within its purview the necessary land management functions and maintenance of information about land, it can manage the land asset most effectively on behalf of the Canberra community.

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