Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 September 2005) . . Page.. 3486 ..
appropriate place for intensive development.” That is absolutely right. I agree with the minister wholeheartedly. I am glad he has come on board on that. It is important that we have significant development in the town centres and group centres. That, of course, results in less strain and less pressure for development in garden suburbs and other places, which is exactly the point that we have been making for some years.
From that point of view, it was good to see the minister come on board with that policy. It was a change of heart. That is something we can certainly agree on, that significant development in places like town centres and group centres will take away at least some of the demand for more intense development in local centres.
MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): The member’s time has expired.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.17): I will speak briefly to Dr Foskey’s core motion, and touch briefly on the matter referred to by Mr Seselja in his exposition. If the Greens have concerns about variation 200 to the territory plan, it is their fault. A considerable amount of time in the last Assembly was taken up by a lengthy discussion revisiting and redrawing lines in relation to variation 200. What happened in this place was that a four-member committee, including a member of the Labor Party, unanimously said that variation 200 to the territory plan was a bad idea, for such a range of reasons that it was almost irredeemable.
But the Minister for Planning, in his hubris, said, “I came into this place as the Minister for Planning and I said I was going to do this and I will do it, come what may.” There were other things that needed to be addressed in the planning system. The minister did nothing about the planning approval system until he was coming up to the election last year. On two separate occasions in this place the minister declined the challenge to do something about the Land Act. In December 2002 and in April 2003, there were specific motions in this place to reform the Land Act. He specifically declined to do it and now Mr Virtue is saying, “I’m going to do this in my time and it will be perfect.” None of the reforms this minister has instituted have improved the planning system one bit.
In December 2002, when this Assembly passed the Planning and Land Bill, I stood in this place and said, “The test of this bill will be whether the culture of the organisation and the service it provides change in the next 12 months.” It is three years down the track and nothing has changed in the culture of that organisation. Nothing has improved in the way of getting through the planning and approval system. We changed the name, we tinkered with the structure, we created a whole lot of conflicts of interest for the government inside the organisation, but nothing has changed in terms of service and the streamlining of planning approvals.
There are problems, of course, with community shops, and I agree with the minister that some of the causes of those problems are due to demographic change. But there are a lot more complex reasons than those that were touched on by the minister. Variation 200 was never going to be the answer to reviving suburban shops. We know that. We knew it from the outset. Mr Corbell knew it from the outset. The Greens in this place, in the last Assembly, allowed the minister to force through an unsatisfactory planning regime and what they got out of it is arid, bad planning results. It is a failure on all counts and now