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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4166 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

documentation, and engaging the community so that the planning process is correctly understood and appreciated by all.

The Australian Democrats and I believe that the areas of participation and education are just as important as any other functions of the authority proposed in this bill, and that they deserve the equal recognition and enforcement that will be brought about by this change.

To echo the comments made by Mrs Dunne about the process, I will say that this amendment is an example of how well the round table process works. I thank the minister for bringing that about, so that we could address concerns with the bill in an open and easy discussion. The process was incredibly useful and allowed us all to share our opinions and understand each other's positions. It also allowed the government to respond to a number of concerns with the bill, and it allowed us, as non-government members, to understand the government's position.

I was glad to see the minister adopt a more cooperative process than had appeared to be connected to this bill previously. I hope this experience will improve the government's opinion of this approach to dealing with complex legislation, as the round table approach does enable a far smoother and more informed debate than trying to deal with a multitude of amendments from all directions, on the floor, on the night.

Amendment agreed to.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (8.48): I move amendment No 5 circulated in my name [see schedule 6 at page 4192].

Amendment No 5 circulated in my name clarifies how the authority exercises its functions in relation to sustainable development. The authority must not only have regard to sustainable development, but must also take into consideration the statement of planning intent given to it by the minister, which is in clause 13 of the bill.

In discussion with crossbench members and opposition members, it became clear that some members wanted to see a range of issues such as, say, affordable housing, formally and explicitly stated in the legislation as an objective that the authority should strive towards. The government shied away from that approach, not because it does not agree that issues such as affordable housing are important, because they are, but because once you start listing the specific types of issues to which the authority must have regard in performing its functions, you could get a very long list-affordable housing, social justice issues, and a whole range of things.

The government has taken the view that the policy of the government of the day will very significantly govern or drive the issues that are emphasised by the authority, because they are policy issues which are the preserve of the government. The government anticipates that these issues are best dealt with through the capacity to outline them in the statement of planning intent.

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