Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4456 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
Mr Deputy Speaker, this is essentially a typographical amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.33): I move amendment No 17 circulated in my name, which amends clause 34 [see schedule 1 at page 4499].
Mr Deputy Speaker, this amendment inserts a new clause 34 (3) to require minutes of proceedings of the Planning and Land Council to be published within seven days after they are confirmed.
MS TUCKER (5.33): This is something that came out of the roundtable discussion and it is something we requested. The ACT Democrats were interested in having the authority's advice published. However, a compromise was reached that the minutes rather than advice would be published because there was a concern expressed-certainly, I expressed it-that publishing the advice could result in the authority becoming quite guarded in terms of what it had to say and this would remove any chance of honest and open discussion. The authority would be conscious of not casting any negative light on the minister and may therefore water down its advice or only provide advice that fits with what the minister wants. So I think having the minutes published is a good compromise that came out of the discussion.
MS DUNDAS (5.34): So many amendments and so much to say. This amendment arises from the concerns of a number of members here in the Assembly and people from the community that the Planning and Land Council would not be transparent enough to the public. As Ms Tucker has mentioned, during the roundtable process a number of changes were proposed to increase the transparency of the Planning and Land Council. It was generally agreed that this amendment would provide sufficient transparency to allow any member of the public access to the proceedings of the council. They would then be able to follow up on any documents that were mentioned in the proceedings, if these were relevant, and, of course, raise questions based on those minutes.
The transparency of the Planning and Land Council and all parts of this new planning regime is something that is incredibly important, and having the minutes available will be a first step in making sure there is that transparency. Of course, we will be monitoring to ensure that there is sufficient enough transparency and, if we need to, we will come up with and look at other ideas.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.35): Mr Deputy Speaker, I would like to clarify further the government's intention in relation to this amendment. As Ms Tucker has indicated, there is a concern that if there were a requirement to provide absolutely everything the council was doing and within a specified period, the formal records and advice of the council could become quite guarded and people would not be encouraged to make decisions or give advice.