Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1722 ..
The amendment inserts a new clause 71A to reduce the threshold for disclosure to $1,000.
Amendment agreed to.
Proposed new clause 71A agreed to.
Clause 72 agreed to.
Proposed new clause 72A.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.27): I move amendment No 31 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 1782].
The amendment seeks to insert a new clause 72A to adjust disclosure requirements, particularly in regard to planning developments. I base this amendment on a recent position paper by the Independent Commission Against Corruption titled Corruption risks in NSW development approval processes.
Although this paper relates to New South Wales, where the planning and development processes differ from those in the ACT in that local councils have historically had control of planning decisions, I believe my amendment serves to give another level of transparency to the ACT system.
My amendment relates to recommendations 23 and 24 of the ICAC paper and I believe it serves to further protect the rights of ACT residents against the chances of development companies and industry lobby groups using political funding in an attempt to sway the government or the Minister for Planning and their party. I am not suggesting, as I have no firm evidence, that this has ever occurred in the ACT, but it would be foolish to deny that it has occurred in other jurisdictions and that it could occur here. As the ICAC report notes, it is important to recognise that a perception that corrupt conduct is occurring does not establish that such conduct has occurred.
That said, even a perception of corrupt conduct can be damaging to the government and the community and may have a basis in truth. I have had anecdotal concerns raised with me by people in the development industry regarding past inconsistencies in change of use charges and, although these concerns have never been independently verified, having the amendment that I am proposing in place would be a good safety mechanism to ensure that they remain merely concerns and not something more serious. Having discussed this briefly with Mr Corbell, it would be possible to argue that this disclosure could reasonably be covered by the general $1,500, now $1,000, limit. However, the time frame for the general disclosure may mean that several months might have passed and the development has already begun. So my amendment remains relevant as it seeks to make donations that may impact on decisions public before the decision is made.
It has also been raised with me that this amendment may seem to be unfairly targeting the Minister for Planning. I would like to stress that the amendment notes that, if the