Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4434 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
extent of these problems and, if the current planning minister is not prepared to address them then, one way or the other, we will get one who will.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (4.03): Mr Speaker, I am surprised Mrs Dunne did not blame me for the greenhouse effect and the spread of the AIDS virus, while she was at it, because she blamed for just about everything else.
I want to paint a picture of where the government is going, what it seeks to do and, more importantly, how it values a profession whose commitment is to trying to achieve a better place for people to live in. I want to deal first with professionalism and capacity because, as a city, we need a strong and robust planning system, one that protects the public interest, one that advocates and recognises that communities and societies change and need the capacity to respond to that change in a timely, effective and considered way. That is the job of well-resourced, effective and dedicated planning organisations, working within the context of whole of government.
What we heard from Mrs Dunne was the complete antithesis. What we heard from Mrs Dunne is more of the rhetoric we have heard from the Liberal Party ever since they have been a power in this place and that is that planning is nothing more than a regulatory function that should get out of the way as soon as possible, so that the market can just get on and do whatever it likes.
That is the sort of philosophy that got us to the state we were in in October 2001, with piecemeal ad hoc redevelopment, with no strategic plan for the future growth and development of our city, and with a planning organisation so emasculate that it had had millions and millions of dollars ripped out of it, with no capacity to plan for the future, with no capacity to meet our city's demands in terms of change and development. It would seem that Mrs Dunne would like to go back to those days, to squash our plans, to sit on them and not let them speak, not let them play the important role they have to play in helping to shape the future of our city.
The planning profession is important. It is important because it is about good urban governance and, whether it is planners, landscape architects, architects, or the range of other people engaged in the planning discussion, they have a vital role. This government will always respect and uphold the importance of their role in the context of a whole-of-government approach to good urban governance.
Mr Speaker, the government's commitment and record on planning is a strong one. Planning is a contentious and difficult portfolio; all ministers have discovered that. There will never be agreement and complete consensus on the ways forward for our city. That means there will be debate and the perception of conflict. However, let me outline for the benefit of members, the government's commitments and its record in implementing those.
The government committed to an neighbourhood planning program to give residents and others who invested, lived, worked and played in these suburbs a say in the future planning of that suburb. When I announced the first neighbourhood planning program for six Canberra suburbs last year, Mrs Dunne said it could not be done: "Nine months, no way!"Mr Speaker, we completed the first six neighbourhood plans on time and on budget-an election promise delivered.