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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2749 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Territory Plan. These groups include the Downer Community Association, which generated the majority of the submissions to Planning and Land Management, as it was then, and to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment and the ACT Property Council. Both of these groups initially objected to the garden city variation.

Mr Speaker, planning policies are always controversial, and consensus agreement on the details is very difficult to achieve. Compromises must be made. The Downer Community Association and the ACT Property Council perhaps represent two of the extremes, or different ends of the spectrum, on the planning debate but they have both recognised the reality of having a sensible and appropriate compromise that delivers certainty to our residential land use policies.

Unfortunately, Mrs Dunne and some members of the crossbench have not. That is not acceptable to the government, because the garden city variation supports the strategic objectives of developing a sustainable city with a high quality urban environment. It moves to address the issue of shotgun-style redevelopment occurring in an ad hoc manner across our residential areas and, instead, focuses development activity around centres that actually address community need-higher densities close to the shops, services and facilities that people will need as they age; lower densities further away from those facilities which better suit families and those who are more active. Mr Speaker, it is an appropriate planning policy, one broadly accepted by the community at the last election.

The garden city variation is demonstrably not a one-size-fits-all policy. There have been substantial revisions to the definition of core areas in the residential core areas since the variation was first placed on public exhibition in May 2002. Each individual core area is now defined on the Territory Plan map. The boundaries take into account unique local features, such as roads, parks and walkways. Unlike the original version, not all local centres now have a core area. Again, the variation to the plan has responded to the specifics. In addition, there is further provision to amend and better shape the core areas through the neighbourhood planning process. That has actually occurred in a number of suburbs which have undertaken neighbourhood planning to date.

Mr Speaker, the ultimate test of any planning policy is what happens on the floor of this place. We are elected to represent the community. We are elected to ultimately make the decision on what should be in the Territory Plan and what should not. That is why the land act provides for variations to the Territory Plan to be debated on the floor of this place. We can assert that the community has been listened to or not listened to, but ultimately the test is: is the variation supported on the floor of the Assembly? If it is, then it has the support of a majority of people in the community. That is the basis on which we make planning law in this city.

Mr Speaker, I urge members to support the government's variation and to oppose this motion. Not to oppose this motion is to go back to the past, to the planning policies of Brendan Smyth, to the planning policies of the Liberals, to the planning policies which saw ad hoc redevelopment activity and which saw a significant number of Canberra suburbs placed on the endangered places list by the National Trust. That is the past. Either you support that or you support an approach which moves forward with better protections for Canberra's suburbs.

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