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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 15 Hansard (Thursday, 15 December 2005) . . Page.. 4923 ..

What are the formal purposes of this committee? Who are the members of this committee? What public information will this committee produce? How is this committee different from the functional review of the ACT budget headed by Mr Costello that was announced by you in early November?

MR STANHOPE: My colleague the Minister for Planning has more detail on this than I. I am happy to defer to Mr Corbell on the government’s overall approach to urban development planning in the ACT.

MR CORBELL: I thank the Chief Minister. I thank Mr Pratt for the question. The government has recently agreed to new coordination arrangements across government to ensure that the government gets coherent and coordinated advice on the future development of the city, in particular in relation to requirements across all portfolios on infrastructure development and the sequencing and staging of development in new and existing residential areas. Primarily, the objectives of this body are to ensure that the government gets a whole-of-government picture of the potential emerging infrastructure demands for the city.

MR PRATT: Thanks, minister. Chief Minister, you may be able to answer this or we will take the handball if you prefer. Chief Minister, how can your government justify the commitment of scarce public resources to the committee undertaking the functional review of the ACT budget, to the government’s own expenditure committee and to the urban development committee when Treasury already has these responsibilities?

MR CORBELL: Mr Pratt’s assumptions are simply wrong, again. This does not entail any additional expenditure. These new arrangements do not involve the commitment of any additional funding resources. They involve the relevant agencies coming together to give coordinated advice to the government.

The body is led by the chief planning executive and has officers of the ACT Planning and Land Authority and from all relevant government agencies. They coordinate the potential infrastructure demands that the territory faces over certain specified time frames. That is used to inform government decision making about where expenditure decisions should be made on infrastructure.

It is not the definitive list of what must be done but rather an indication to government of the relative priority of infrastructure projects and, in particular, the timing needs. For example, when a new suburb is being built, at what point will the government need to consider investment in a new school? As the suburb is brought on line, at what point should the government consider the development of sporting fields and so on? As the suburb comes on line, is new trunk sewer infrastructure required and so on and so forth? It is a coordinating body.

Most Canberrans would think that coordinating the delivery of infrastructure and making sure the government is well informed on the decisions it has potentially to make on the provision of that infrastructure is a pretty important role for the government to play.

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