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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2758 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The third point was that there be a timetable for the roll out of neighbourhood plans and that the processes of neighbourhood planning include potential areas of heritage interest. That was also agreed to by the government. A neighbourhood planning program has been released and appears to be targeting the areas most under pressure, as requested by community groups. In particular, it includes seven more southern suburbs-Yarralumla, Garran and Hughes, starting in September, and Red Hill, Griffith, Narrabundah and Forrest, starting in September/October. I am currently getting feedback on that.

One of the things we originally asked for was for the core areas not to take effect until the boundaries were confirmed by agreement through the neighbourhood planning process. (Extension of time granted.) We were not able to achieve that, but we had to accept and we did accept that there would have been practical problems with it, not least of which would have been the focusing of development pressure on the areas that had already been subject to the most development pressure and had therefore been first in the queue to have their neighbourhood plans done. The community also was concerned about that.

The fourth point was that there must be further discussion and consultation with the community regarding revised consultation mechanisms. In particular, this included terms of reference and appointment processes for community planning forums. That was agreed to by the government and I have had good feedback from the community on how that is progressing.

We also asked that there be the implementation of a sustainable housing design pilot within a greenfields development, and the government also has agreed to that. I think that that will be very important for future development in Canberra. Unfortunately, we still see very ordinary development in Canberra, with buildings still quite primitive for the physical and social climate we live in.

There is a resistance to change which I hope will dissipate to some degree once people see how we can do things differently. We need to have examples of creative and innovative high quality design, not only for individual dwellings but also for the layout and infrastructure of the whole suburb. I am very pleased that Simon Corbell is quite enthusiastic about that, because I think that it will bring about a change in community awareness about what is possible.

We also asked that there be a Territory Plan variation which implements the government's policy of a minimum five-star energy rating for new dwellings. The government has agreed to investigate that, although it has qualified it with the need to determine the impact on housing affordability. I am interested to see this analysis. However, there are obvious long-term savings in having energy efficient buildings, environmental and economic.

The lack of affordable housing is an important question. I am constantly raising it in this place. It must be addressed as a critical issue. However, I would be concerned if creating energy efficient houses, which in turn results in lower cost to the occupants, was struck out for this reason when so little else is happening.

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