Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2270 ..
bring themselves to have, in the majority report, simple recommendations such as: that electronic controls be put in place to ensure that one ACTPLA officer alone cannot issue a development application approval on a major commercial development without checks or clearances by another officer. That is a pretty straightforward process but Mr Gentleman looked at it in his usual way and said, “No, I do not like that one,” or, “That is tricky. That is mean and tricky. No, we are not having that one in there.” And the girls went along with him.
There is one other issue which Mr Seselja touched on, the relationship between the National Capital Authority and ACTPLA. I think the points that he made are very telling indeed—points about the collusion of ACT Labor in its falling over itself to make cuts to the National Capital Authority which can only be described as cut first and ask questions later. We have a situation where we are not quite sure what the future of the National Capital Authority will be but, if ACT Labor has anything to do with it, it will be constrained; it will have one hand tied behind its back; and this may not be for the planning benefit of the rest of the territory.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.08): Planning is obviously an interesting topic to discuss, and to some extent it seems like we have been discussing little else but planning issues in the last month, throughout question time and in many aspects of this budget debate. I am not sure what I can add that has not already been said. But there are a few things that have come out of the budget and the discussions in the last few weeks that I would like to speak about.
Before I do, I caught some of Mrs Dunne’s remarks about the events at Weston Creek, and I will say just two things on that. I actually made representations at the request of constituents in relation to that particular saga. I also have significant issues about people who are occupying government land without lawful authority. It is worth putting it on the record because I did raise in estimates the difficulty experienced by people who settle on public land or government facilities and make that their home. The chief of staff of a senior federal Liberal minister, in fact, approached me about addressing the issue in Ainslie. The minister said that there was a belief that there were up to 40 people now living in public areas in Ainslie, and he asked me to take that issue up. I am not sure what the Liberal Party policy is in relation to people taking this approach, but it is certainly not a cohesive one.
I am glad to see that this budget includes a new performance indicator on the level of satisfaction with the services provided by ACTPLA. However, the targeted figure of 80 per cent satisfaction seems to me to be an unambitious one. I would have hoped that fewer than one in five people would be dissatisfied with the services provided by ACTPLA, but this is the margin of error that they are giving themselves. Based on anecdotal evidence there appears to me to be a great deal of frustration with ACTPLA, particularly over failures to assess applications within statutory time frames. This is backed up to some degree by performance indicators, which show that 85 per cent of single dwelling applications and 75 per cent of other applications are assessed within statutory time frames.
It always seems strange to me that we so casually allow ourselves such leeway in complying with the letter of the law. The fact that the government’s targets in this