Page 2708 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 16 August 2005

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Planning and Environment—Standing Committee

Report 11

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.49): I present the following report:

Planning and Environment—Standing Committee—Report 11—Draft variation to the territory plan No 258—Belconnen Labor Club section 48 Belconnen, dated 29 June 2005, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

The committee has no recommendations in relation to this draft variation to the territory plan. As committee chair, I would like to thank all of those involved in the consultation process, particularly the committee office and the secretary, Hannah Jaireth.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (11.50): I note that no comments were made in relation to the proposed variation. I think this is the first time the committee has done that. I raised some concerns about potential conflicts of interest of a couple of the members of the committee and I wanted to discuss that, given that the majority of the report addresses that issue and makes no comment on the variation. The report says:

The approach of providing a ‘no comment’ response is taken in many reports by the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs when performing the functions of a scrutiny of bills and subordinate legislation committee. The fact that two members have made declaration of a possible conflict of interest … in relation to the proposed variation, does not detract from the appropriateness of this response.

As I said, and I might stand corrected, I believe it is the first time this committee has issued a no comment report and it is probably not coincidental that the first time we have made no comment is the first time that issues of conflict of interest have been raised. Most of the report deals with the issue of declared possible conflicts of interest, as it says in the heading. The report states:

Government members of the Committee declared a possible conflict of interest—

I believe that was only after I raised it—

but it should be noted by stakeholders that this interest is not peculiar or personal to the members involved.

I find that interesting. It goes on:

Many members of the Canberra community, on all sides of politics, are members of the Labor Club for social reasons, so membership of the Club should not disentitle Committee members from issuing a ‘no comment’ report on this draft variation.

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