Page 200 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

It is important that if developments are allowed to proceed near sensitive areas and fire vulnerable areas they provide their own fire protection buffer zones and that incursions into nature parks are not required to be provided by government. In other words, when a development approval is given, it is also incumbent upon the developers to create the buffer zone within their own land envelope. I think this is still a grey area in planning.

Since much of our open space is in areas managed by Environment ACT, it is important that ACTPLA gains a greater respect for the work of the department. I noted in the Auditor-General’s report on the development application and approval process that there are tensions between these departments, and I am not sure whether they arise in respect of open space management as well.

Finally, the Commissioner for the Environment pointed out in her submission that community views and aspirations were not actively sought during the open space network project process. This points to a problem that I have often mentioned and to which Mr Corbell responded in a question last December, I think—whenever this first came up. It is all very well to apply statutory consultation procedures, but this is an area where active community engagement is needed.

Really, it is an issue of community values. Do we think, as the HIA said in its submission, that our open spaces are just something to view through a car window and to worry about in the fire season, or do we recognise that we are guardians of a dwindling natural resource and habitat and that without open spaces and nature parks we will be depriving many species of homes?

This is about nothing less than our vision of Canberra’s landscape—whether it is a source of endless greenfield development with roading and medium density infill encroaching on our open spaces or a bush capital where development respects the need for people’s amenity, equity between different areas and nature’s needs.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.18), in reply: I would like to thank Dr Foskey for her comments today. But I would also like to remind her that the Greens are perfectly able to make submissions to the committee during inquiries, the same as everybody else, and for her to say that she has not had an opportunity may be a little naive.

I would just like to take a moment to reinforce some of the committee’s comments in the report. Firstly, open spaces in the ACT can be seen as many forms. Some of those that follow have been taken from the words of stakeholders in their submissions: they form a key element of our bush capital and garden city, making Canberra a capital city like no other; provide breathing space for the spirit; are beloved by residents and envied by visitors; meet important community needs in a physical and aesthetic sense; provide space for health-promoting linear recreation activities such as running, cycling and horse riding; allow for the planting of large-scale shade trees which add a sense of permanency and security; absorb pollutants and increase oxygen levels; and provide opportunities for community involvement in management encouraged by a sense of ownership.

These were just a few examples of the ways in which submissions supported this draft variation to the territory plan. The aim of this variation is to determine whether sites should become part of the designated open space network with full statutory protection,

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .