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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2273 ..

Something clearly is not right in the system. The delays are costing people money. They cost them holding costs in terms of interest payments on funds, and this is something that has plagued the territory for too many years. It was an issue when I ran in 2004. In my area of O’Malley, the east O’Malley development was held up for endless periods of time for a variety of reasons at substantial cost to the developers. I think we have to tackle this and ensure that, whilst proper processes are observed, we certainly do not have undue delays that are going to make development in this territory too costly and uneconomic.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.18): I thank members for their contributions on this line item. I will briefly mention some of the highlights in the budget and some of the independent commentary on some of those initiatives and respond to Mr Seselja’s issues and those raised by Mrs Dunne and, of course, Dr Foskey. I apologise, Dr Foskey; I will seek to respond to the issues you have raised as well.

First up, the key initiatives for the Planning and Land Authority in the budget this year are around commercial industrial land supply, sustainable communities, energy efficient housing and enhanced service delivery to small business, most particularly through the work we are doing in the Planning and Land Authority around getting more information, more building files et cetera available online and accessible to industry 24/7.

During the estimates hearings we discussed some issues that have arisen in the implementation of the new planning system, but I think it is worth observing that, after four years of extensive consultation, four months into the new planning system the government and the Planning and Land Authority are still listening to industry and the community and responding to those who work with and in the planning system.

The Planning and Land Authority has been holding a number of discussions with industry groups who have identified a range of technical concerns with the introduction of the new planning system. The Planning and Land Authority acknowledges those issues and has indicated a willingness to address them. It is worth observing, of course, that new statutory systems will always have imperfections that need to be ironed out. I acknowledge that even Mrs Dunne is prepared to accept that point. The government—in fact everyone in this place—acknowledged at the time that this legislation was being debated that that would be the case. Likewise, it was recognised that there was another phase required to the policy review of the territory plan post the commencement of the Planning and Development Act.

I can advise the Assembly that a number of measures will be taken to address some of the concerns that have been raised. From 1 July the fees for the amendment of a DA will be changed from 25 per cent of the DA to a sliding scale relevant to the complexity of the DA. The length and complexity of DA forms have been looked at. I am pleased to advise the Assembly that only a matter of days ago the DA forms were amended and shortened, with input from industry, and are now in place.

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