Page 1273 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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that, where feasible and warranted, I will introduce amendments to this Assembly for debate. But a disallowance of part or all of the regulation will have serious implications for planning and development in the ACT. So the government cannot support Dr Foskey’s disallowance.

I should use the remaining time, though, to address a couple of the issues that Dr Foskey raised, most particularly her concerns about conflicts of interest where a builder employs the building certifier. I advise that the Building Act 2004, section 23, prohibits an entity from acting as a certifier for building work if the entity has an interest in that work. Section 23 describes such interests, including providing that the certifier cannot be an employee of the builder. That should address the concerns that Dr Foskey raised in relation to that potential conflict of interest.

But I do note that, in a lot of the commentary on the new planning system, the new territory plan and these associated regulations, there has been considerable criticism coming from Dr Foskey that the government has thrown the balance too far towards developers. But then, interestingly, the development lobby themselves have been quite vociferous in their complaints across a range of issues.

I look today at today’s City News and the campaign that is being waged by the property council in relation to some measures in the regulation aimed at preventing land banking. We see another example of where there is disagreement coming from the building and development lobby in relation to aspects of this legislation and the regulation.

It is interesting to note the views of those dispassionate observers of planning debates in the territory over the years, but when you are being criticised by the Greens, coming at you from the left, and the Liberals and the development lobby, coming at you from the right, you have probably struck the right balance. I think that is clearly the case with this package of reform.

But it is important to note that the government has a range of other work that has been running parallel to this significant reform process, most particularly looking at areas of sustainable development, and that this is just the beginning of a reform process, not the end. So I do need to reassure Dr Foskey and the Canberra community that there is further work being progressed. That work continued throughout the extensive reform process that commenced with Minister Corbell as planning minister a number of years ago and that I was able to see through as the new planning minister.

We look forward to seeing further initiatives in this area coming forward in the weeks and months ahead. I can assure Dr Foskey and the Greens that the government is working on some of the issues that they continue to lobby on and we will, of course, put forward proposals for further consideration by this Assembly and by the community as a whole.

In closing, again I stress that we cannot support this disallowance motion today and that it would have significant consequences for the successful operation of the planning and development system in the ACT. On that basis, the government will not be supporting Dr Foskey’s motion.

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