Page 1276 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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That is not to say that energy efficiency is not important. There are, as Dr Foskey acknowledged, minimum standards under the Building Code of Australia. I believe that the standards and position of the market are sufficient safeguards to ensure that energy-efficient dwellings are constructed and I would be concerned to see all of these regulations tossed out because, as Mr Seselja said, they have a lot of other consequences, notwithstanding the fact that there are continuing ongoing concerns about planning laws that exist in the territory.

New issues have been raised by the Property Council in relation to certain aspects of the legislation we passed recently, and obviously there will be scope for further debate and possibly further amendment in relation to those. But I do not believe the jettisoning of this regulation is the way to go, given the rationale provided.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.28), in reply: I thank members for their contribution to this debate. While it would have perhaps been very affirming for me if you had all agreed with my arguments and supported my motion, you will, of course, understand that I felt it was very important to move this motion because I do not feel that these issues have been aired in the debate. It is only with the last piece of the planning reform furniture, which are the regulations, that it has become clear what is not and what is in this suite, in the legislation, in the territory plan and in the regulations.

We need to remember that the territory plan in its final form only got presented to us on the morning when it was debated—I cannot really say “debated” because it is very hard to debate something that you have not had a really good look at. I felt that that was an inadequate process. Although I appreciate that there was quite a bit of consultation on the territory plan, it is still essential to see the final in time to actually read it before we debate it.

I have had issues raised with me by people in the community but I was not able to detail those in my speech. I refer to issues like the fact that it is now okay to build a dwelling that overshadows somebody next door, so long as that person next door has a minimum of three hours—yes, three hours—of sunlight in their living area. That could be just one corner of their living area for three hours. You can imagine what that does for energy efficiency—not a great deal—and it certainly will make it impossible for such people to participate in the solar tariff, the premium tariff.

It is these kinds of issues which keep being revealed bit by bit as people try to work with the new territory plan. I feel it is really important that people know about them. What happens in planning all the time is that most of the community out there do not have a clue what is in all this material.

Even though I acknowledge that the government and ACTPLA have done their best to involve the community, it has not happened. There is a certain amount of self-interest involved. People will not take notice until an issue affects them, and then they will find out that the avenues are not there for them to protest about it. It also makes it hard for us as members to assist those very legitimate concerns if those areas have been taken out.

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